Senegal defeats Poland to save Africa from World Cup embarrassment

Sadio Mane can be a thorn in Poland's side on Tuesday

Sadio Mane can be a thorn in Poland's side on Tuesday

Having been treated pitchside for an injury, the Torino striker was waved on at the very moment Grzegorz Krychowiak played a loose back pass, allowing Niang to run on to it, beat Wojciech Szczesny and slot home. Poland 0-1 Senegal. Thiago Rangel Cionek's own goal remans the difference between the two sides at the first 45 minutes as Poland go back to the dressing room without scoring.

Senegal have recorded a 2-1 win over Poland in Tuesday's World Cup clash in Moscow to join Japan at the top of Group H.

"We are not too euphoric because we do know there is going to be a hard match against Japan", Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said.

Africans at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation have been wearing forlorn faces after four of their five teams lost.

The phrase former Arsenal keeper is key here, because for the second Senegal goal, Szczesny showed why he can be utterly frustrating despite his immeasurable talent. Though Poland had more possession, they were restricted to passing the ball backwards and sideways. Both Senegal and Poland are playing with attacking mindset and not shying away from pressing deeper.

If the Polish did not know what a kora or balafon was, they soon found out, because Senegal's support was basically two bands: a gently swaying group with percussion on one side of the pitch, and a high-energy dance troupe with koras, balafons and the kitchen sink on the other.

It was a relief for Africa after Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia all lost their opening games.

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Szczesny rushed out of his area to try and intercept but Niang got to the ball first, slipped it past him and scored into an empty net amid Polish disbelief.

Poland improved after the restart with Robert Lewandowski seeing a 25-yard free kick punched clear by Khadim N'Diaye, but Senegal were not prepared to sit back with Mane becoming increasing involved in the final third. The Senegalese team shocked the world in 2002 by defeating then-reigning champions France in the opening match of group stage play and advancing to the knockout stage.

"We simply lacked quality in the first half", he said.

All eyes will be on Poland hitman Robert Lewandowski, whose 16 World Cup qualifying goals topped Europe in the 2018 World Cup cycle.

38' - GOAL! Poland 0-1 Senegal: Niang plucks the ball out of the air, wriggles off a challenge to drive forward and passes to Mane.

Poland: Midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski started limping midway through the first half and his right calf was treated just before the restart that led to the goal.