(CTN News) – Poland defeated Saudi Arabia 2-0 in Group C on Saturday and relaunched their tournament campaign with Robert Lewandowski's first World Cup goal.
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who missed a penalty against Mexico and was visibly emotional after scoring, pounced on a mistake to double Poland's lead. Piotr Zielinski had put them ahead in the first half.
Having stunned Argentina with their opening performance, the Saudis, who missed a penalty in the first half,
Found Poland a more difficult opponent at the Education City Stadium.
In order to guarantee their place in the knockout phase, Poland must draw their final match against Argentina next Wednesday. This will enable them to reach the next round of the competition.
While Argentina will face Mexico later on Saturday, the Saudis, the tournament's second lowest ranked team, will take part in their final match against Mexico. This is because they have all to play for.
Lewandowski's response to being asked about scoring his first World Cup goal was as follows: "When it comes to emotions, when I was singing the national anthem, I felt emotions I do not know how to describe.
"During the game — and of course after we scored — everything I had inside me — my dreams, the significance of the goal, and how I scored it, all of those childhood dreams came true.
In addition, he stated, "When you play for the national team, results must be your number one priority. However, I always dreamed of scoring at the World Cup and now I have achieved this dream. I am glad to have been able to learn from the mi stake.
I learned I had to fight. We did not have many opportunities during the first match and I missed the penalty kick. The older I get, the more emotional I become, and I am aware that when it comes to the World Cup — it may be my last World Cup."
A half-chance was created for both sides before Poland shook themselves from their slumber to take the lead in the 39th minute.
During the second half, Matty Cash skipped down the right and crossed low for Lewandowski. He lifted the ball over the keeper and pulled it back for Zielinski to fire into the roof of the net.
Nevertheless, their hopes of cruising to halftime were dashed four minutes later when Krystian Bielik made minimal contact with Saleh Al-Shehri's leg.
After initially waiving away Saudi appeals, the referee viewed the VAR monitor and pointed to the spot, which prompted celebrations from the Saudi players.
Those hopes were premature, however, as Wojciech Szczesny palmed away Salem Al-Dawsari's low effort one-handed, and Mohammed Al-Breik's follow-up was brilliantly parried over the bar by him.
During the second half, Arkadiusz Melki header rattled the crossbar, and Lewandowski's effort deflected off his knee and hit the post.
While Lewandowski had failed to score in his four previous World Cup appearances, he did not have to wait long for his first goal this time around.
When Poland Abdulelah Al-Malki slipped, Lewandowski pounced, robbing him of the ball and sliding a tidy finish past Mohamed Al-Owais into the net, where he was greeted by teammates in tears.
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