Poland registered a 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia today, November 26, to bolster their chances of reaching the World Cup’s Round of 16 for the first time since 1986.
Robert Lewandowski’s first-ever World Cup goal and goalkeeping heroics by Wojciech Szczęsny were enough for the European team to get the top spot on Group C.
The early phases of the game were physical, with four yellow cards issued in a six-minute span, as Poland tried to manage Saudi Arabia’s high line.
Even with the challenges, Saudi Arabia dominated possession throughout the match but was unable to capitalize on their opportunities in the final third. A prototypical Polish counterattack led to the opening goal in the 39th minute by midfielder Piotr Zieliński.
Saudi Arabia were awarded a penalty five minutes later for Krystian Bielik’s foul on Saleh Al Shehri.
Wojciech Szczesny stopped Salem Al Dawsari’s penalty kick before producing a sensational one-handed stop to prevent Mohammed Al Burayk from burying the rebound.
Saud Abdulhamid was denied by Szczesny and Al Brikan shot over the bar in the second half, while Arkadiusz Milik and Lewandowski were both denied by the woodwork as Poland sought to double their lead on the counter-attack.
Lewandowski’s late strike ended Saudi Arabia’s hopes of building on Tuesday’s remarkable victory over Argentina.
Saudi Arabia entered the match as group leaders after their historical victory against Argentina, and Poland’s victory means they are currently on top of the group. Pending a result between Mexico and Argentina, Poland is one step closer to the knockout rounds with a final group game remaining against Argentina on Wednesday.