Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Senegal punishes Poland errors for 2-1 victory in World Cup

Senegal punishes Poland errors for 2-1 victory in World Cup

Senegal made flawless use of Poland's mistakes to win their World Cup Group H opener at Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia on Tuesday.

Not since 1974 - when Zaire, its only representative, lost all three of its matches, conceded 14 goals and scored none - had Africa been without at least a win or a draw in the first matches.

Several Polish players appeared to query the issue with Bahrain referee Nawaf Shukralla, but officials had waved Niang back on and the goal stood.

Krychowiak made amends with a header from a free-kick by Kamil Grosicki in the 86th minute, but the goal came too late. They were more considered in possession, more threatening in attack and shrewder in defence, although admittedly they weren't exactly given the most testing workout by a Poland attack who will have better days.

The Lions of Teranga took advantage of some dismal defending to double their lead in the 60th minute, M'Baye Niang poking the ball past Szczęsny and rolling it into the empty net. With Colombia and Japan the other teams in Group H, it's shaping up to be one of the more balanced quartets in the competition.

Poland improved after the restart with Robert Lewandowski seeing a 25-yard free kick punched clear by Khadim N'Diaye, but Senegal were not prepared to sit back with Mane becoming increasing involved in the final third. They do not rely on Mane in the same way that Egypt look to Mohamed Salah, or Argentina count on Lionel Messi.

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Midway through the first half of Poland and Senegal's meeting, McCoist produced one of his driest lines yet after noting Poland's Jakub Blaszczykowski has the longest name in the tournament.

It was played four, lost four for the African teams so far in Russian Federation before Senegal and Poland became the final two sides to make their bow at this World Cup.

Senegal took the lead when Niang went around Lukasz Piszczek on the flank following a restart and centred to Mane. Earlier, Polish fans had nearly taken over Moscow. Poland must get more out of their main man against Colombia on Sunday.

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.

Under the coach Nawalka Adam, Poland will try to give their best performance against Senegal in the opening match so as to strengthen their chances to enter the second round. Meanwhile, Mattia Perin, the keeper signed by Juve this summer, might have been watching with interest.

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