Poland errors hand Senegal victory in Group H
Senegal have become the first African nation to win at this year’s World Cup after beating Poland 2-1 in their Group H opener.
A Thiago Coniek own goal gave Senegal the lead at half time before Grzegorz Krychowiak handed them a second with a poor backpass.
Krychowiak dragged Poland back into the match when he headed in late on but Senegal held on to claim the three points.
Senegal’s 20-year-old midfielder Ismaila Sarr thought he should have had a penalty in the 16th minute when he went down under a challenge from Maciej Rybus but the referee waved play on.
Mbaye Niang came close three minutes later when he was played in by Youssouf Sabaly but he scuffed his shot wide.
Senegal did go ahead eight minutes before halftime though. After good work down the left by Niang, the ball was worked through Sadio Mane to Idrissa Gueye and his shot took a huge deflection off defender Thiago Cionek to deceive Wojciech Szczesny and end up in the back of the net.
Robert Lewandowski nearly levelled the score after the restart after he was brought down on the edge of the box by Salif Sane. The free-kick was sent towards the top corner but Khadim Ndiaye did brilliantly to punch the ball away.
Full-back Lukasz Piszczek came close but volleyed narrowly wide before Senegal extended their lead at the other end.
It came from a moment of madness from former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak, whose backpass was left well short. Szczesny came off his line but Niang got there first and took the ball round him before stroking into an empty net.
Arkadiusz Milik should have done better from six yards and Dawid Kownacki headed straight at Ndiaye as Poland looked for a way back into the match.
That came five minutes from time and it was Krychowiak who atoned for his earlier error by heading in at a free-kick.
It was too little too late for Poland, though, and Senegal were able to see out the match to claim the win.