Senegal chalked up Africa’s first victory at the World Cup with a 2-1 success over lacklustre Poland in Group G.
Thiago Cionek inadvertently diverted Idrissa Gueye’s shot into the net shortly before the half-time break, before a comedy of errors – and a hint of controversy – saw Senegal double their advantage on the hour-mark.
Grzegorz Krychowiak’s hopeless back pass sucked Wojciech Szczesny off his line, with the goalkeeper beaten to the ball by M’Baye Niang, who prodded beyond him and tapped home. However, replays showed he was invited back onto the pitch by the referee from an injury stoppage just moments before bursting clear to score.
Krychowiak’s late header gave Poland hope, but they failed to carve out another chance to force an undeserved draw.
Senegal, competing at their first World Cup since 2002, are level with Japan – who defeated 10-man Colombia earlier in the day – on three points who they face next on June 24. Poland will be hoping for an improved performance against Colombia later that evening.
Senegal take advantage of sloppy Poland. Their two goals may have been fortunate but Senegal were worthy winners of an entertaining encounter. Having watched all of their African rivals lose their opening group games, Senegal started on the front-foot and deserved their huge slice of luck. Their first win at the World Cup in 16 years, Senegal undoubtedly showed more endeavour to win the game.
They showed tremendous fight, desire and determination which is in stark contrast to Poland’s pitiful display. Even at two down, Adam Nawałka’s side lacked any urgency to get back into the contest. Robert Lewandowski, who scored 16 goals in qualifying, was left isolated up front, starved of service. And how they missed Monaco’s Kamil Glik in defence. Poland have a mountain to climb if they are to reach the last 16 for the first time since 1986.