Senegal, pouncing on defensive mistakes, pushes past Poland 2-1


Photo Credit: FIFA

There is an old adage in Boxing: Protect yourself at all times.  The referee gives this instruction to both fighters before any match starts in boxing.  The Polish National team may want to pay heed to those instructions as a mentally lapsed back pass to the goalkeeper in the 61st minute led to one of the more embarrassing goals allowed in the tournament.  The goal proved to be the difference maker in Senegal’s 2-1 win over Poland in their Group H opener in Moscow.

The first half was marked with sloppy pay and an inability to find viable attempts at goal for either team.  The first shot on goal by either team wasn’t until the 37th minute. That shot on goal did however result in the opening score of the match, an own goal off of Poland’s Thiago Cionek attempt to block Senegal Midfielder Idrissa Gueye’s shot at goal.  As Gueye attempted to slide it past the keeper from the center of the box to the far post, the Polish defender, Cionek, ran through and the ball clipped off his left foot and into the net.

Poland was able to somewhat recover in the opening minutes of the second half, most notably pressuring Senegal off of a Robert Lewandowski free kick that was punched away in the 51st minute by Senegalese keeper, Khadim N’Diaye.  It wasn’t until the 60th minute when Senegal scored again. Senegalese forward, M’Baye Niang, was waved on to the field by FIFA officials after he picked up an injury earlier and pounced on a poor back pass from Polish defender, Grzegorz Krychowiak.  Niang was able to slip by the forward attempt at tackle by goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczęsny, and slotted home the goal.  The decision by the FIFA official was questionable as far as the timing to allow Niang back on the pitch, however the ultimate responsibility falls on the Polish players to be aware of what is going on around you at all times.

Poland was able to pull within one goal in the 86th minute off of a Krychowiak header but this proved too little too late, as Senegal was able to close out the final minutes and take the victory.  The headline grabbing stars, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, were fairly quiet in this match. Lewandowski did not register a shot on target until the 50th minute and Mane didn’t fare all that much better.

Poland will look to shake off this loss but head into a very difficult game this Sunday against Colombia in Kazan, in what looks to be a matchup of teams surprisingly hoping to still stay relevant in the Group H Standings.  Senegal will follow up their win today with a matchup against fellow group leader, Japan in Ekaterinburg on Sunday. The winner of that match will most likely guarantee themselves a spot in the knockout stages.


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based in Frederick, MD, USA. Multi-sport correspondent for Prost International and Prost Amerika focusing mainly on Soccer/Football and American Football

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