Poland and Saudi Arabia went head-to-head at the World Cup today aiming to boost their chances of progressing to the last 16.
The first chance came after 14 minutes, with Mohamed Kanno driving forward from midfield and playing some nice combinations before testing Wojciech Szczesny. The Juventus man was up for the test.
The game was spirited and yellow cards came flying. The Arabs were choking Poland in midfield and refusing them space behind.
Poland’s first chance came from a corner as Krystian Bielik connected with Piotr Zielinski’s cross, but Saleh Al-Shehri cleared it off the line.
Saudi Arabia played a high line against Argentina, and the Polish players exploited that with a long ball for Robert Lewandowski. The Barcelona striker controlled it before setting up for Zielinski to fire home in the 39th minute.
Poland began to play with fire in their bellies, and they looked more confident with the ball. However, they conceded a penalty minutes later. Bielik fouled Al-Shehri and VAR called the referee’s attention to it.
Al-Shehri stepped up, but Szczesny saved it and the follow-up shot. Saudi Arabia were marginally the better side but were behind at the break.
Thirteen minutes into the second half, Salem Al-Dawsari shot at Szczesny from close range. Two minutes later, Al-Dawsari was at it again. He created the opening for Firas Al-Buraikan, who fired over the bar. Saudi Arabia head coach Herve Renard was tense on the sidelines.
Poland were on the ropes but eventually came back into the game, with Lewandowski and Arkadiusz Milik both rattling the bar.
Abdulelah Al-Malki came close to equalising after 78 minutes when his shot went narrowly wide of the target.
However, he was at fault for Poland’s second a few minutes later. After he dwelt on the ball, Lewandowski pounced and slotted home to secure the win.
Match Ratings: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia
Wojciech Szczesny (8.5/10) – He made some impressive saves to keep out Saudi Arabia. He saved a penalty gallantly and its follow-up.
Bartosz Bereszynski (5.5/10) – He tried to make things happen but struggled to impact the game.
Kamil Glik (7/10) – He marshalled his defence well and distributed well.
Jakub Kiwior (6/10) – He was easy to move through, and Saudi Arabia exploited his side.
Matty Cash (5/10) – The Aston Villa man was defensively suspect and was not influential in the attack.
Krystian Bielik (6.5/10) – He was imperious in midfield but gave away a penalty that could have cost his side the game.
Grzegorz Krychowiak (7/10) – The former Paris Saint-Germain midfielder screened everything in front of him. It was a superb performance in the middle of the park.
Przemyslaw Frankowski (7/10) – He tried to make things happen for his side and was positive throughout the game.
Piotr Zielinski (7.5/10) – The Napoli man knows how to find dangerous spaces to attack, and he delivered some dangerous balls too. Another fine performance.
Robert Lewandowski (8.5/10) – The former Bayern Munich striker got into dangerous positions, linked up well, and got an assist. He got his first World Cup goal in his fifth game.
Arkadiusz Milik (6/10) – He hit the bar from a decent chance but was a passenger for much of the game.
Jakub Kaminski (6/10)
Krzysztof Piatek (4/10)
Mohammed Alowais (6/10) – He couldn’t do anything about the goals he conceded.
Mohammed Al-Breik (6/10) – Defended stoically but could not do anything about either goal.
Ali Al-Bulayhi (5/10) – He struggled to deal with the movement and class of Lewandowski for most of the game.
Abdulelah Al-Amri (7/10) – He tried hard but could not make anything happen for his side
Saud Abdulhamid (7/10) – Another dogged and industrious performance from the right-back. Unlucky to be on the losing side today.
Salem Al-Dawsari (7/10) – He looked sharp throughout and tried to make things happen for his side, but all to no avail.
Abdulelah Al-Malki (5/10) – He gave away the ball for Poland’s second goal.
Mohamed Kanno (7.5/10) – He drove forward from midfield with purpose and intent. He was arguably his side’s best player.
Sami Al-Najei (7/10) – He struggled to influence the game for the 45 minutes he was on.
Firas Al-Buraikan (6/10) – He was anonymous for most of the game but worked hard for his side.
Saleh Al-Shehri (5.5/10) – He made one clearance off the line and won a penalty but missed the penalty and rebound. He will be kicking himself for not finding the equaliser.
Sultan Al-Ghannam (5/10)
Hattan Bahebri (N/A)
Abdulrahman Alobud (6/10)
Nasser Aldawsari (N/A)
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