M’Baye Niang Ensures Senegal go Top of Group H

M'Baye Niang

Senegal becomes the first African team to win at the 2018 World Cup after a tame Poland couldn’t get out of second gear. M’Baye Niang’s goal sealed the three points for Senegal after a nervous last few minutes. The 2-1 win for Senegal brings a close to the first round of the World Cup fixtures.

M’baye Niang, Senegal Top Group H

Cagey First Half

Both nations started the game with no real intention to take risks. Senegal’s organisation served them well as countless misplaced passes by Poland were intercepted setting up numerous counter attacks.

The first real chance of the match came on the 17th minute when Youssouf Sabaly won the ball in his own half. The defender played a lovely through ball to Niang who put his effort wide.

However, the deadlock was broken on the 37th minute. M’Baye Niang won the ball on the left-hand side of the pitch before finding Sadio Mane, who played a short pass to Idrissa Gana Gueye. His effort from just outside the box took a deflection from Thiago Cionek, leaving Wojciech Szczesny stranded.

Senegal could have doubled their lead on the 40th minute. Salif Sane’s effort from a corner was poorly timed as he headed the ball into the ground, resulting in the ball bouncing over the bar.

Senegal See out the Second Half

The Second half started with a higher tempo. Poland’s key player Robert Lewandowski was fouled just outside the box resulting in a Salif Sane booking. However, Lewandowski’s effort was saved.

Poland continued to search for an equaliser early in the second half as Lukas Piszczek met a cross at the back post. His tame effort was put wide but the signs were encouraging.

Meanwhile, as Poland started to get a foothold in the match, Senegal scored their second goal of the match on the 60th minute.

A clearance from the Senegal defence was met by Zielinski who, in a moment of madness, attempted to launch the ball back to Wojciech Szczesny. The goalkeeper rushed out in order to clear the ball but M’Baye Niang got there in front of the Polish keeper. He slotted the ball home in the open net.

Poland’s first real chance came on the 69th minute. Lukas Piszczek’s pass found Milik, whose shot was put wide.

Tempers flared towards the end of the match as Rybus tackled Sarr in the box. After clarification from VAR, the referee’s decision to not give a penalty was correct.

Poland finally scored on the 86th minute. Grzegorz Krychowiak headed the ball home after an inch-perfect freekick from Kamil Grosicki found his fellow teammate. However, Poland left it too late as Senegal win the first-ever meeting between these two nations.

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