19 Jun 2018 - 20:30 IST - Spartak Stadium
Group Stage - Group H
Catch all the action from the Group H match between Poland and Senegal through News18Sports' live blog.
At the other end it is a good run by Sabaly down the left where he gets to the byline and pulls the ball back to Sadio Mane. But the snapshot is blocked off. Ten minutes into the first half and even though there is better tempo in the game, there isn't much in terms of constructing a move. Both sides using a direct approach.
Overall this first half was chaotic and messy. Both teams seemed to lack the quality needed to create a goal, but Senegal proved that belief wrong (albeit with a crazy double deflected own goal off of Thiago Cionek). Adam Nawalka and the Eagles must make several changes at half if they have any hope of salvaging a point from this match. A halftime lead will mean that the Lions of Teranga can sit back and use their impressive speed to hit the Polish on the break.
The game features two of Europe's top marksmen at the domestic level in Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane. Both have failed to impress so far today. Senegal with pace though are doing well to trouble the Polish defenders when they can but the final pass is lacking. Couple of good chances to deliver a dangerous ball in from the right have gone a begging. The game badly needs a goal.
Senegal will draw on the spirit of the late Bruno Metsu, the maverick French coach who led them to the 2002 quarter-finals, when they face Poland on Tuesday in their first World Cup match in 16 years. Aliou Cisse, who captained the side which Metsu famously fired up to stun defending champions France 1-0 in Seoul in their opening game, said he was thinking of his mentor. Yet as the only African coach in this year's competition, he is determined to stamp his own generation's mark on world football. Asked if he had taken up Metsu's style of team talk, when he worked on their anger at being dismissed as outsiders in their first finals, Cisse told reporters: "No. Bruno's talk was Bruno. I'm the coach now, I have my own way of managing my team.
"But today on the eve of this match against Poland my thoughts are with Bruno. I know that from where he is today he is watching us and his energy will lift us." Metsu, whose side lost to a Turkish golden goal in the 2002 quarter-finals, died five years ago of cancer, aged 59. For decades, many of Africa's most successful teams have had European or Latin American coaches, but Cisse reckoned it was time to move on: "Sure, I'm the only black coach in this World Cup. But these are debates that bother me. I believe football is universal and the colour of your skin doesn't matter. "I represent a new generation which wants to find its place in African football and world football," he added. "We also have a right to be among the elite of international coaches."
Cisse insisted his side were feeling confident and set on enjoying their return to the global stage, unfazed by talk of pressure after the three African countries to have played so far have failed to score or get a point. No African team has bettered Senegal's 2002 achievement, Cameroon, in 1990, and Ghana in 2010 also reached the quarters, but Cisse said he was sure that one would one day win the World Cup. His side were ready to work hard around Liverpool's Sadio Mane -- a "unique" world-class player in Cisse's view, able to make the difference in a host of different ways, and backed by a collective team spirit that was well prepared. In Group H, they will also face Colombia and Japan. Captain Cheikhou Kouyate said Cisse had pushed them through particularly demanding training in the past month: "The coach didn't let up," he said. "The coach has worked us like dogs."
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