Before the World Cup kicked off, the Senegal group was announced as the most undecided. It became even more so with the victory of Japan over the favorite, Colombia, on Tuesday, June 19 in the early afternoon (2-1). In the aftermath, the clash between Poland and the Teranga Lions became even more crucial in the qualifying race. Extra pressure on the shoulders of Aliou Cissé’s players ? Not in the least, obviously. Neither this, nor the four defeats in as many meetings of the other African teams, have frightened Sadio Mané and his teammates on Moscow’s turf.
After an observation round in which both teams tried to intimidate the opponent in the physical impact, Senegal gradually took the lead in the first half. In the middle of the field, Alfred N’diaye and Idrissa Gueye collected numerous balls and blocked Poland in the development of his game. At first, the Senegalese attackers were clumsy, like M’baye Niang who was deflecting his shot (19′).
At the 37th minute, M’baye Niang, gradually increased in power, was serving Sadio Mané at the entrance of the Polish repair surface. The forward from Liverpool found Idrissa Gueye, whose shot from Cionek misled Szczesny, the East European goalkeeper (1-0, 37′). Senegal took the lead. In the next few minutes, Salif Sané, at 1m 96, was even close to doubling the bet on a corner. But the Defender was crushing his head to the ground when the goal seemed wide open.
M’baye Niang was excellent.
We don’t know what Aliou Cissé said to his men at the break. But the captain of the 2002 team, who had experienced the same scenario in the victory over France, surely had the right words. On the way back from the dressing rooms, Senegal went around for ten minutes, while Poland discovered and got two chances that neither Lewandoski nor Piszczek were changing (50th, 55th). Then, on a catastrophic bell pass from Krychowiak in his own camp, M’baye Niang took advantage of a huge disagreement between goalkeeper Szczesny and his defense to push the ball into the empty net (2-0, 60′). Then you had to manage without doing anything stupid.
What we do with application the teammates of Kalidou Koulibaly, boss of the defense, until the 86th minute, where, on a long free kick, Krychowiak was free of any marking to reduce the score (2-1). In the last few minutes, the Lions kept their advantage to celebrate their successful return to the World Cup.
M’baye Niang, who made many differences ball to the foot, thus established himself as the first Hero of the Lions in Russia. Yet this young Prodigy (23 years old) had been drowning in his talent for several Seasons. His club, AC Milan, was not convinced, and has Lent him to other teams in the last four seasons. But on 19 June, on the Moscow lawn, while Sadio Mané did not make a big performance, Niang signed his return.
Senegal, on the other hand, will try to follow up a second victory in a row against Japan next Sunday, to open the way to the round of 16.