Senegal have recorded Africa’s first win with a 2-1 win over Poland in Tuesday’s World Cup clash in Moscow to join Japan at the top of Group H.
An own goal from Thiago Cionek and a second-half tap-in from M’Baye Niang gave Aliou Cisse’s team a two-goal lead and although Grzegorz Krychowiak halved the deficit late on, Senegal were full value for the three points.
After Japan had registered a surprise 2-1 victory over Colombia earlier today, both teams knew that Group H was wide open but neither side showed much ambition during the opening stages of the contest.
Sadio Mane teed up Idrissa Gueye on the edge of the box and the Everton midfielder’s 25-yard strike took a huge deflection off Thiago Cionek before finding its way into the opposite corner of Wojciech Szczesny’s net.
Poland improved in the second half with Robert Lewandowski seeing a 25-yard free kick punched clear by Khadim N’Diaye, but Senegal were not ready to sit back with Mane becoming increasing involved in the final third.
Their approach paid off just after the hour mark but Poland contributed to their own downfall as Grzegorz Krychowiak’s back-pass from the halfway line was short, led to a confusion between Jan Bednarek and Szczesny who failed to make a connection with the ball.
Dawid Kownacki also sent a header too close to N’Diaye as the game edged closer to full time but with four minutes left, Poland, at last, got themselves back into the contest via Krychowiak, who powered a header into the far corner following a deep set piece.
Poland continued to play the ball into the penalty area during four minutes of added-on time, but Senegal effectively repelled the danger to start just their second-ever appearance in this tournament with a victory.