Moscow: Senegal's players celebrate their opening goal with Senegal's Sadio Mane during the group H match between Poland and Senegal at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, June 19, 2018. AP/PTI(AP6_19_2018_000214B)

By Izuchukwu Okosi

 

An own goal by Poland’s Thiago Cionek and Mbaye Niang was all Senegal needed to claim Africa’s first win of the 2018 World Cup with a 2-1 win with Gregory Krychowiak the scorer for the Polish on Tuesday.

The first real chance for Senegal in the Group H match came through a Niang cross in the sixth minute which was cleared by the Polish defence.

The Teranga  Lions started asserting themselves even more culminating in a yellow card handed to Gregory Krychiowak for foul on Niang.

Niang’s cross-shot in the 18th minute eluded everyone. The forward was the beneficiary of a pass from Youssef Sabaly who himself profited from a loose pass from Poland’s Pietr Zielinski.

Robert Lewandowski waltzed his way into the Senegal box in the 30th minute seeking to pounce on a long ball put in from the left wing but keeper Khadim N’Diaye got down and saved from the feet of the Bayern Munich goal machine.

Senegal broke the deadlock in the 37th minute as Idrissa Gueye’s shot was deflected into the net thanks to a Thiago Cionek touch that sidestepped Wojciech Szcsney in the Polish goal. It was credited as an own goal for the unfortunate Polish.

Salif Sane was yellow carded for a foul on Lewandowski in the 50th minute but the freekick taken by Lewandowski himself was punched away by goalkeeper Khadim N’ Diaye.

Senegal doubled their lead through Niang in the 60th minute who latched onto a loose back pass by Krychowiak, went past Szceszney and tapped into an empty net.

Right back Lukasz Piszcek found Napoli forward Arkadiuz Milik soon after Senegal’s goal but his near post effort only hit the side net.

There were more Polish threats in the final quarter of the match but the players and officials of the Senegalese side probably thought Ismaila Sarr was fouled in the box. The VAR verdict was: no penalty.

Krychowiak then reduced the deficit four minutes to full time with a header beyond N’Diaye from a freekick to hand the Eastern Europeans some hope of a comeback.