Senegal beats Poland 2-1, 1st African win at World Cup

Senegal beats Poland 2-1, 1st African win at World Cup

Senegal picked up a crucial 2-1 victory over Group H favorites Poland today behind an own goal in the first half and a controversial score in the 60th minute.

The winger, who spent a brief loan spell at Watford in 2017, ran back onto the pitch after being treated for an injury to make the most of a sloppy back pass and put his side 2-0 up on the hour.

Indeed, Krychowiak let loose a sloppy back-pass that was gobbled up by Mbaye Niang, who dodged past the charging Wojciech Szczesny and walked the ball into the gaping maw of the Polish net.

Thiago Cionek's own goal, the defender deflecting in a shot from Idrissa Gueye, handed Senegal the lead in the 37th minute. Grzegorz Krychowiak headed in Poland's late consolation goal.

But putting all that behind him, the youngster, given a starting role by Cisse, produced an impressive performance against Poland to put himself back in the limelight.

It was the 29-year-old Bayern Munich striker's World Cup debut and he needs much better service if he is to help Poland recover from their awful start and progress beyond the group stage.

After top-scoring in European qualification with 16 goals, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski will be Poland's key man in their opening tie against Senegal. "It's always hard when you let in simple goals, especially the second", he said.

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"They had more possession, but as soon as they made a mistake, they were beaten and kicked back".

Poland and Colombia were both thought to be group favourites but now suddenly find themselves in the bottom half of their group, also thanks to Japan's win over the South Americans earlier in the day.

Senegal were hoping to avoid joining their four fellow African sides - Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia - in losing their opening match, and fared little better initially, but they had the matchwinner in Niang.

The Southampton defender did not see the Senegalese poacher until it was too late and he then poked the ball past Szczesny's late-arriving cavalry and walked the ball into the net.

But while the Senegal first was unlucky for Poland, they were architects of their own downfall for the decisive second, handing Niang his first worldwide goal on the hour mark. Lewandowski has an enviable goalscoring record this season with 41 goals in 48 games in all competitions this season and will be looking to open his World Cup account against Senegal in Moscow. 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 finished third in the 1974 World Cup in West Germany and were also third in Spain in 1982.

A slow start at Spartak Stadium saw neither side gain control of the midfield until Senegal had the first clear chance in the 18th minute, Niang dragging a poor effort wide after a break.

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