Senegal defeated Poland in their opening Group H game with a 2-1 victory at the Spartak Stadium, recording the first win by an African team at the ongoing World Cup.
M’Baye Niang’s strike secured victory on the hour, after a 37th-minute own goal handed Senegal the half-time lead.
Both teams seemed nervous at the start in Senegal’s first World Cup match since 2002 and Poland’s first since 1996.
In a first half of few chances Senegal took control when outshot Poland 5-2 while the Poles had a slight possession edge.
Senegal took the lead when Mbaye Niang went around Lukasz Piszczek on the flank following a restart and centred to Sadio Mané. The Senegal midfielder passed to Idrissa Gueye, who sent a right-foot shot from the arc toward Wojciech Szczesny’s far post. But the Poland defender Thiago Cionek, near the penalty spot, lifted his right leg and deflected the ball past a wrong-footed Szczesny.
Niang then struck on the hour. From the centre of the pitch Grzegorz Krychowiak tried to loft a 50-yard pass back to his goalkeeper but the ball dropped woefully short. Niang beat Szczesny to the ball and shot into an empty net. Krychowiak pulled a goal back, but it was not enough for Poland.
The teams next play on Sunday, when Senegal face Japan and Poland take on Colombia.