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FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

Relief at Last as Senegal Becomes First African Team to Win at the World Cup

It was a successful go at saving face for Africa as Senegal became the first side of the five outfits from the continent to win their opening group game.

It was a successful go at saving face for Africa as Senegal became the first side of the five outfits from the continent to win their opening group game.

It’s a honk and wave affair in Dakar this moment as thousands pour onto the streets to celebrate following the Taranga Lions’ 2-1 spanking of Poland.

Start of proceedings had the White Reds taking the shape of a domineering side face, raking up 63 percent of possession. However, it was not until in the 36th minute when the wait came to an end with Idrisa Gana Gueye letting fly a screamer from edge of the box that took a deflection on centre-back Thiago Cionek beating Juve’s net-minder Wojciech Szczesny in the process for Senegal’s first goal.

Prior to that, Torino’s Mbaye Niang had a try at goal when an over-lapping Youssouef Sabally sped down the wing to free-up the striker gaffer Aliou Cisse preferred over Monaco’s Diao Balde Keita.

With an option of taking a quick pause to pick-up the on-rushing Ismaila Sarr, Niang disappointingly fired wide.

senegal-fansThe Poles responded with keen interest. Robert Lewandowski chested down a Jakub Blaszczykowsi’s tip to control well but his resultant left-footed shot in the Senegalese box was as good as no danger.

Fifteen minutes in the second phase following the hiatus, Senegal’s Salif Sane entered the referee’s booklet for bundling down a surging Lewandowski and appeared to get away with without a sending off.

The Bayern Munich and Bundesliga golden boot winner marshalled, by Kalidou Koulibaly, spread his free-kick past the wall which Guinean side AC Horoyaa’s Khadim N’Diaye in goal for the Taranga Lions, easily punched away.

The Africans placed the game beyond Poland’s reach after the referee allowed Mbaye Niang, who was being treated for an injury on the peripheries, in to the pitch.

The spaghetti-legged goal-getter sneaked in to pounce on a poor back pass by Krychowiak to beat the Poles’ goalkeeper to the ball before slotting into an empty net.

Appearing assured of victory, head coach Cisse hauled off the anonymous Biram Diouf for new entrant and Birmingham City’s  Chiekh Ndoye while scorer Niang made way for Moussa Konate.

As the clock wore down, Poland pulled a goal back with Krychowiak the architect. The Westbromwich Albion man out-jumped his marker in the Taranga Lions’ half, calculably connecting his header that rolled past a motionless N’Diaye in the post.

The last-gasp goal-concede syndrome that blight other African teams threatened to repeat in the final minutes as Poland peppered attacks upon attacks but the Lions stood their ground, holding on to end of time.

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