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2018 World Cup : Teranga Lions Tame Poland To Claim First African Win

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Senegal became the first African team at this summer’s World Cup to record a victory as a goal in each half helped them see off Poland.

The Teranga Lions 2-1 victory over Poland in Moscow on Tuesday. The team was helped by two fluky goals: a deflection, and a goal scored by a player who was apparently unnoticed by the Poland defense.

In their first World Cup appearance since 2002, when manager Aliou Cisse was still playing, Senegal earned a well-deserved victory over a disappointing Poland side at the Otkrytie Arena.

The Senegalese showed no signs of being overawed by the occasion and could have taken the lead after 18 minutes when Youssef Sabaly wonderfully picked out M’Baye Niang, but the former AC Milan and Watford forward could only drag a left-footed effort well wide of the far post.

Robert Lewandowski dragged a volley wide after teeing himself up shortly afterward, but the Poles largely failed to get their star man into the game, forcing him to feed off scraps.

Winger Ismaila Sarr impressed for Senegal, though his probing runs were slightly marred by a couple of very dubious dives which he might not have got away with on another day.

With just eight minutes to go before the break, Senegal took the lead, though they required a huge slice of luck to do so.

Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye is not renowned for his goals, but it was he who contributed to breaking the deadlock as his low effort from 20 yards crashed into the shins of Thiago Cionek before wrong-footing Wojciech Szczesny in the Poland goal and rolling into the back of the net.

A half-time change of system didn’t help Poland particularly, though they did create slightly more than they had in the previous 45.

First, Lewandowski forced Khadim N’diaye into his first real save of the game as he parried away the Bayern Munich man’s curling free-kick before Mame Biram Diouf somehow failed to make contact with Sarr’s low ball in from the right just minutes later.

Poland’s full-backs were noticeably more advanced after the break and Lukas Piszczek should have done better when he side-footed Kamil Grosicki’s inviting ball from the left wide at the far post.

Adam Nawalka’s side were made to regret that miss on the hour mark as Senegal double their lead, once again with a major helping hand.

Krychowiak opted to loft a ball back to his goalkeeper from inside the Senegal half, despite being under little pressure.

Clearly taken by surprise Cionek was caught sleeping, causing Wojciech Szczesny to come racing off his line. He wasn’t quick enough though, with M’Baye Niang stealing in to race clear and roll into the unguarded net for his first goal for his country with his first shot at goal of the World Cup.

That goal spurred Poland in life somewhat, though they were still well below par for a side ranked eighth in the world.

Arkadiusz Milik prodded wide as he met a Piszczek centre at the near post before substitute David Kownacki forced a save from N’diaye with a routine header.

With four minutes to go the Poles did find a lifeline, Krychowiak making amends by heading home Grosicki’s free-kick from deep at the far post, but it proved to be too little too late as Senegal held on.

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