Robert Lewandowski scored his first-ever World Cup purpose as Poland introduced Saudi Arabia again all the way down to earth with a bump on Saturday with a 2-Zero Group C victory that rejuvenated their event marketing campaign.
Lewandowski, who missed a penalty in Poland’s opening draw with Mexico, was visibly emotional after lastly discovering the web. He pounced on a mistake within the 82nd minute to double Poland’s benefit after Piotr Zielinski had given them a first-half lead.
After finishing one of many event’s best ever shocks after they minimize Argentina all the way down to dimension of their opener, the Saudis, discovered Poland a harder nut to crack on the Schooling Metropolis Stadium. The Inexperienced Falcons didn’t convert a first-half penalty.
The win moved Poland to 4 factors, yet one more than the Saudis, and left them needing a draw of their ultimate sport towards Argentina subsequent Wednesday to ensure their spot within the knockouts.
Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest ranked group within the event, will head into their ultimate match towards Mexico with all nonetheless to play for, whereas Argentina play Mexico afterward Saturday.
It was successfully a house match for the Saudis with their raucous followers, who had made the quick journey throughout the border, far outnumbering their Polish counterparts.
Their group gave them lots to shout about too within the early levels as they had been by far the extra formidable, urgent excessive towards the Poles, who appeared torpid compared.
The encounter was spiky. The Saudis steadily hit the deck, with the referee, who dished out 4 yellow playing cards in 5 first-half minutes, seeming keen to oblige a feisty crowd baying for punishment.
There have been half-chances for each side earlier than the sport sprang to life within the 39th minute when Poland shook themselves from their slumber to take the lead.
Matty Money skipped down the best and crossed low for Lewandowski who lifted it over the keeper and pulled it again for Zielinski to fireplace into the roof of the web.
Their hopes of cruising by to halftime, nevertheless, had been ended 4 minutes later when Krystian Bielik made minimal contact with the again of Saleh Al-Shehri’s leg and he hit the turf.
The referee had initially waved away Saudi appeals however he was instructed to take a look at the VAR monitor and pointed to the spot, sparking celebrations from the Saudi gamers.
These proved untimely, nevertheless, as Salem Al-Dawsari’s low effort was palmed away one-handed by Wojciech Szczesny, who was rapidly on his toes to parry the observe up from Mohammed Al-Breik brilliantly over the bar.
The Saudis had been virtually degree early within the second half when substitute Nawaf Al-Abed burst by the Polish rearguard however took a tumble as defenders closed in. The ball discovered its strategy to Al-Dawsari however his follow-up was nicely saved by Szczesny’s legs.
A greater probability was then spurned by Firas Al-Buraikan who wildly slashed his effort vast with solely Szczesny to beat.
Poland may have prolonged their lead within the second half when Arkadiusz Milik’s header rattled the crossbar whereas Lewandowski hit the put up with an effort that deflected off his knee.
Lewandowski, who had drawn a clean in his 4 earlier World Cup video games, didn’t have to attend an excessive amount of longer, nevertheless, for his purpose.
Abdulelah Al-Malki slipped and Lewandowski pounced, robbing him of the ball earlier than sliding a tidy end past Mohamed Al-Owais and into the web, with the striker seemingly in tears as he was greeted by group mates.