Senegal punish Polish errors to win 2-1 in Group H

Reuters , Tuesday 19 Jun 2018,
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Senegal and Poland
Senegal's Idrissa Gueye and team mates celebrate their first goal scored by Poland's Thiago Cionek with an own goal while Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski looks dejected (Photo: REUTERS)

Senegal became the first African team to win a match at the 2018 World Cup on Tuesday when they beat Poland 2-1, helped by two shocking errors in the European side's defence.

Poland defender Thiago Cionek stuck out a leg and deflected Idrissa Gueye's wayward shot into the net in the 37th minute before goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny rushed recklessly out of his area and allowed M'Baye Niang to nip in and score into an empty net on the hour.

Szczesny may have been caught out because Niang was having treatment on the touchline and re-entered the pitch as the ball was played backwards to the Poland goalkeeper by Grzegorz Krychowiak.

Krychowiak headed Poland's goal in the 86th minute.

The win took Senegal top of Group H with three points, along with Japan who also beat Colombia by the same score. Colombia and Poland are both without a point.

It was a relief for Africa after Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia all lost their opening games.

Poland's record scorer Robert Lewandowski got little change out of a well-drilled Senegal defence, led by Kalidou Koulibaly, and they sorely missed key defender Kamil Glik, still recovering from a training injury sustained two weeks ago.

"I'm satisfied with my players, really proud of them. I think they arrived with a lot of determination, they have worked hard," said Senegal coach Aliou Cisse. "I think it is really a generation that deserves a lot of credit and respect."

The first half hour was a sorry affair strewn with misplaced passes from both sides and neither of the danger men, Lewandowski and Senegal's Sadio Mane, saw much of the ball.

The first shot on target produced the first goal as Senegal went ahead in the 37th minute.

Niang won a challenge with Lukasz Piszczek, burst down the left and found Mane who in turn slipped the ball to Gueye.

The midfielder's shot appeared to be going wide until the hapless Cionek stuck out a leg and deflected it past Szczesny.

Lewandowski sprang into life five minutes after halftime as he won possession, burst clear and was up-ended by Salif Sane. He took the free kick himself and although he managed Poland's first shot on target, it was saved by Khadim N'Diaye.

Poland appeared to be coming back into the game until the most embarrassing moment of the World Cup so far.

Krychowiak sent a long ball back from deep inside the Senegal half, Szczesny rushed out of his area to collect the pass but Niang stole in to score to Polish disbelief.

Krychowiak partially made amends with his goal but it was too late for the disappointing Poles.

"Second goal - I do not know," said Poland defender Michal Pazdan. "The player ran in, he was behind the side line of the pitch. There are no such situations on a daily basis.

"But it does not change the fact that we lacked concentration at the beginning of the second half, because it seems that we could have played a different game, if they hadn’t scored the second." 

(For more sports news and updates and a special World Cup 2018 coverage, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports )

 

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