As It Happened: Senegal Upset Poland With Controversial Niang Strike

As It Happened: Senegal Upset Poland With Controversial Niang Strike

Jakub Bobro
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I'm glad you joined me, Jakub Bobro, for this stunning match. Be sure to follow Oliver Emmerson's live commentary of the upcoming Egypt vs Russia game, with Mohamed Salah back in the lineup.

Poland were unlucky to go down in the first half after being the better team, but that was not true in the second half. After the second goal, the team seemed to lose their self-belief and struggled to create chances. It was only when Krychowiak made it 1-2 that Poland came alive, but it was too little too late.

Senegal put together an impressive display to pull off the second upset of the day. The second goal was quite odd and will certainly be a talking point for pundits. Even more impressive is the fact that Sadio Mane didn't perform incredibly and it was the entire team that got the win.

Full Time!

90+3: Mane had a chance after a free kick but Poland are now on the attack.

90+2: Grosicki muscles Sane off the ball and fires a shot from 35 yards into the sky.

90:  Senegal foul in Poland's box. Poland are getting everyone up there, as four minutes are added.

88: Substitution: Alfred N'Diaye comes off for Cheikhou Kouyate.

86: Krychowiak heads in the ball after a free kick. Poland still have a few minutes to give this game a final push.


85: Senegal calls for a penalty after Sarr was taken down in the box, no call. Sarr and Rybus get into a shoving mini-contest, but get on with it. Rybus slid in, but no contact with Sarr. Could have been a yellow.

83: Substitute: Lukasz Piszczek comes off for Bartosz Bereszynski, a somewhat surprising like-for-like change this late in the game.

82: Lewandowski received the ball in the box surrounded by three Senegalese defenders. He flicks it to Grosicki but he does not get much on the shot.

81: Senegal had a shot to go 3-0 up with a ball that bounced to Konate, but Szczesny closes down well.

79: Kownacki gets a good chance, header into the ground that bounced on target after a Rybus cross.

75: Substitution: M'Daye Niang's historical day ends after scoring his first international goal in a controversial fashion. Moussa Konate comes on.

73: Substitution: Dawid Kownacki comes on for Arkadiusz Milik. Poland looking for some fresh legs,

73: A funny misunderstanding between two Senegalese players as they both went for the ball and it deflected out for a Poland throw-in.

72: Gueye gets a yellow for stomping on Krychowiak's ankle.

70: Milik now with a huge chance. Piszczek squared the ball in the box and Milik tried to flick it past N'Diaye near-post.

67: Poland have struggled to get a good chance since Lewandowski's free kick. Not sure how they will break through.

62: Substitution: Mame Diouf is off for Cheikh N'Doye. A like for like change.

61: A goal that will be quite controversial. Niang was off the pitch due to injury, referee waved him to come on during the play just as Poland were playing the ball all the way to Szczesny. Niang intercepts the ball, chips it past Szczesny and taps it in.


58: Krychowiak played a ball over the top for Grosicki, but it was too far. Poland are getting forward more, but struggling for ideas.

56: Piszczek mishits a volley after a long cross from Rybus.

54: Wague's cross got deflected and bounced to Diouf, who had some space but missed the ball from 10 yards out.

52: Sabaly crosses the ball in, Mane catches it on the half-volley but only hits Pazdan.

51: Lewandowski got the free kick on target, but N'Diaye produces a beautiful save.

49: Lewandowski finally gets some space and Sane takes him down just outside the area. The centre-back gets a yellow. A free kick coming up.

48: A beautiful ball played into the box for Grosicki, but the winger was offside.

46: Bednarek runs into Sabaly's hip face first, and the physios are on for him within his first minute on the pitch.

The second half kicks off!

Substitution:  Poland bring on centre-back Jan Bednarek for right midfielder Jakub Blazsczykowski. Quite an odd change, we will see how this changes Poland's shape.

It has been an interesting game. There was a lot of counter-attacking and long balls to move the ball forward quickly, but lacking true chances.


45+2: Senegal have had the game under control since their goal. Ndiaye stayed down after butting heads with Szczesny.

2 added minutes!

43: It is now Lukasz Piszczek that has the game stopped for him after getting hit in the face.

42: Sane had a clear header after the corner, but heads it straight into the ground and bounces over Szczesny's goal.

41: The islands of fans in green among the sea of red and white are bouncing and dancing. It's fair to say that Senegal have been second best today, but they are in the lead.

38: Gueye takes a speculative shot outside the box and Thiago Cionek deflects it into his own net. It is given as an own goal from Cionek.


36: Poland clear the ball as both Sarr and Blaszczykowski need physios to help them with their ankles.

33: Wague crossed the ball to Diouf and Mane in the box against Cionek and Pazdan, but Diouf was offside.

32: Poland have had a couple of opportunities with long balls to overlapping full-backs, but didn't get a shot out of it.

27: Still waiting for the first shot on target. Senegal have mostly tried to get forward with long balls. Poland have also employed the tactic, but do have some more patience.

23: Lewandowski took a shot after the ball bounced to him just outside the area. Bounced the volley with his left foot, but it goes wide.

20: A chance for Poland now as Milik took a shot outside the box after a cross, and Grosicki tried to redirect it with a diving header.

18: Arguably the biggest chance of the match so far. Sabaly interrupts a pass to Piszczek and Senegal countered quickly. Niang ran into the box but scuffed the shot wide.

16: Sarr was on a run and went to the ground in the penalty area. The referee denies it immediately.

12: Grzegorz Krychowiak is the recipient of the first yellow of the game after taking down Diouf. The free kick is fired wide.

10: Poland have had the more possession, but unable to do anything with it. Senegal's midfield also haven't been able to break through, so we've seen Mane drop back to get the ball. Senegal have been able to get some joy down the left, as Piszczek has been trying to get involved in the attack.

7: Wague crossed the ball to the far post for Niang, but Szczesny stopped the low cross.

5: Poland were the first ones to get a look. Rybus chipped the ball over Wague to put Grosicki through in the box, but the winger couldn't get the ball to the strikers for a chance.

3: The opening few minutes have not been the most eventful. Both teams are looking for risk-free ways to get forward, but unsuccessfully thus far.

Senegal kick the match off and so we begin the last game of the first round of group stage matches.

We are now post-anthems. The Polish fans really made themselves heard and it's clear that they will be in the majority today. The referee is Nawaf Shukralla from Bahrain.

Senegal's lineup didn't bring any major surprises, as there were quite a few spots up for grabs. Kouyate, Balde, and Sakho are all left on the bench, but we might see some of them as impact substitutes at some point.

The big news out of Poland with this lineup is that their star centre-back, Kamil Glik, is still unfit to play. Replacing him is the Brazilian-born SPAL centre-back  Thiago Cionek. It seems to me that Poland are going for a 4-4-2, but it could also be a 4-2-3-1 with Milik in a deeper role.

Senegal XI: K. N'Diaye; Wague, Sane, Koulibaly, Sabaly; Sarr, A. N'Diaye, Gueye, Niang; Mane, Diouf.

Poland XI: Szczesny; Piszczek, Pazdan, Cionek, Rybus; Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Zielinski, Grosicki; Lewandowski, Milik.

How will they line up? Adam Nawalka has been lining Poland up in a 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1, and many believe they will want both of their top strikers on the pitch, as they will be gunning for a win. The fitness of centre-back Kamil Glik is also still in question: Szczesny, Piszczek, Glik, Pazdan, Rybus, Blaszczykowski, Krychowiak, Zielinski, Grosicki, Milik, Lewandowski.

How will they line up? Alliou Cisse has been consistent in his 4-4-2 tactics, but they can shift easily during the match due to Mane's versatility. The injury to Saliou Cisse is a blow, but shouldn't affect the shape of this side: N'Diaye, Wague, Kouyate, Koulibaly, Sabaly, Sarr, N'Diaye, Gueye, Balde, Sakho, Mane.

In Poland, the main question about Poland's success will be the performance of their main man, Robert Lewandowski. The striker had a rough time of it at Poland's last tournament, EURO 2016, where he went goalless. There is a lot of pressure on Lewandowski to lead Poland to glory, and three goals in the two pre-tournament friendlies are certainly a statement.

The main and most recent news out of the Senegalese camp is the ankle injury to left-back Saliou Cisse which will rule him out of the World Cup. Coming in as a replacement will be Adama Mbengue of Caen.

This match will be the second to be played at the Spartak Stadium after Argentina - Iceland, which was sold out. It is the smaller of the Moscow stadiums, but still seats over 44,000. The stadium was finished in 2014, and the beautiful pattern on the outside makes it one of the most beautiful venues of this World Cup.

Poland has been in a somewhat strong form. They drew 2-2 with one of the strongest sides to not be at the World Cup, Chile. Their last match before the tournament was a confidence-inducing 4-0 win over Lithuania.

Senegal are coming into the World Cup with some mixed feelings about their recent friendlies. They started off with a disappointing 0-0 draw with Luxembourg and a tough 1-2 loss to Croatia. Senegal's most recent match was a 2-0 win over South Korea. They have been playing a 4-4-2 with Sadio Mane as one of the strikers.

This will be the first-ever meeting between Poland and Senegal in the history of the two nations. These two sides are expected to battle it out for the second spot behind Colombia, so this match will be key in determining that.

Hello and welcome to VAVEL UK's live minute-by-minute match coverage and commentary. Today, Tuesday 19th June 2018, sees Poland face off with Senegal in the 2018 World Cup. This afternoon's game kicks off at 16:00 GMT, second on after Colombia - Japan. Until then - we'll have plenty of pre-match build-up and analysis from me, Jakub Bobro. Make sure you stay following.