Senegal beat Poland 2-1 in their FIFA World Cup Group H preliminary round football (soccer) match at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia on Tuesday.
Senegal become the first African team to win a game at Russia 2018, and it’s their first World Cup finals victory since 2002.
Senegal went up 1-0 after an own goal by Poland Tuesday in Moscow.
The miscue came in the 37th minute. Senegal and Poland were tied at 0-0 when Liverpool winger Sadio Mane took control of the ball about 30 yards out from the net. He slid the ball to his right, finding fellow midfielder Idrissa Gueye.
The Everton star stepped over before ripping a shot through the Poland defense. But defender Thiago Cionek stepped in the way. Cionek attempted the clear the ball, but flipped it past keeper Wojciech Szczesny instead.
Senegal led Poland 1-0 at halftime.
Niang made it two for Senegal in the 60th minute 2-0.
Krychowiak scored a consolation goal for Poland late n the 86th minute 2-1. Grzegorz Krychowiak, whose backpass led to Senegal’s second goal, headed in a free kick in the 86th minute to end Poland’s streak of five straight scoreless World Cup openers.
There have now been four own goals scored at the 2018 World Cup.
The Lions of Teranga join Japan at the top of Group H. Senegal is tied for the group lead with Japan, which upset Colombia 2-1 earlier. Poland battles Colombia in its second Group H match at 2 p.m. Sunday at Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia. Senegal faces Japan in Group H at 11 a.m. Sunday at Ekaterinburg Arena in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
Today’s win evoked memories of The Lions of Teranga most recent World Cup campaign – their debut 16 years ago – in which they defeated holders France in Seoul in their opening match.
Senegal is playing in its first World Cup since 2002, when it reached the quarterfinals. Poland has finished in third place twice at the World Cup, but hasn’t competed in the tournament since 2006. Poland hasn’t advanced past the group stage since 1986.
Despite the defeat, Poland head coach Nawalka remained upbeat about his team’s chances at Russia 2018.
“I think we have a lot of stamina and strength within the team to start our match against Colombia with full strength. I’m convinced we will recuperate and regenerate after this match. We will have a positive attitude in the next match.” Nawalka said after the game.
Poland have never progressed beyond the group stage when losing the first game (2002 and 2006).
“We have talent that we want to show to the world,” declared Senegal coach Aliou Cisse before the game. His side showed some of that ability against the higher-ranked Poles. They deserved their win against a team who were wasteful in front of goal. The only blemish for the Teranga Lions was that key players Idrissa Gueye and Salif Sane picked up yellow cards.
Senegal (four matches), Germany DR and Wales (both three) are the only teams unbeaten in group stage matches in World Cup history.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups will proceed to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.
In a related development, Poland goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski has finalized a move to English Premier League club West Ham while on national-team duty at the World Cup.
The 33-year-old Fabianski has left Swansea, which was relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, to join West Ham on a three-year deal. He has made more saves than any other goalkeeper over the last four seasons in the English top flight.
Fabianksi is the back-up to Wojciech Szczesny for Poland at the World Cup and didn’t play in the team’s first group game, a 2-1 loss to Senegal on Tuesday.
West Ham director of football Mario Husillos says Fabianski “fits perfectly the mould of the modern goalkeeper, with excellent agility, presence and distribution.”
Joe Hart and Adrian were West Ham’s goalkeepers last season. Hart was on loan from Manchester City.