Robert Lewandowski’s World Cup goal-scoring drought came to an end as he helped Poland overcome Saudi Arabia last night.
Headed into this clash, the Barcelona striker was yet to score a goal at the FIFA World Cup and entered the contest off the back of a disappointing display against Mexico where he had a penalty saved by World Cup icon Guillermo Ochoa.
Poland’s battle with Saudi Arabia was an end-to-end contest from the outset and Lewandowski was supported by Wojciech Szczęsny, who was in inspired form between the sticks. The goalkeeper was called into action on a number of occasions and made his first notable save in the 13th minute when he parried a powerful shot over the bar.
The opening saw both sides create chances, but neither able to create a clear-cut opportunity to punish the defence. This was until an impressive counter-attack from the Eagles saw Lewandowski use every ounce of his skill to orchestrate his side’s first goal.
After drawing the keeper out, Lewandowski got a touch on a powerful cross before he squared the ball in to Piotr Zielinski, who made no mistake to break the deadlock. However, Saudi Arabia soon fought back, just like it did in its famous win against Argentina last week.
On the cusp of halftime, the Falcons won a penalty and a golden opportunity presented itself for Herve Renard’s side to pull off another comeback. However, Szczesny had other ideas and backed up his impressive save earlier in the game with one of the highlights of this World Cup.
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Salem Aldawsari’s penalty was saved by a diving Szczesny before the follow up was tipped over the bar by the Polish shot-stopper. Despite the double-save, which could easily have proven to be a major catalyst for Poland, Saudi Arabia refused to die and Szczesny was called upon regularly in the second half.
The Juve goalkeeper was not helped by the fact Lewandowski’s goal-drought seemed to have no end in sight as numerous opportunities went begging. However, with form only temporary and class permanent, Poland’s talisman eventually found the back of the net on the biggest stage as he pounced on an error at the back to give his country a two-goal cushion with eight minutes plus stoppage time to play.
It was a moment which meant the world for one of the game’s greatest players and he was visibly overcome with emotion. The goal was enough to seal the victory and an enthralling final matchday is set to take place in Group C later this week as Poland takes on Lionel Messi and Argentina, while Mexico and Saudi Arabia will face-off with all four sides capable of making it through to the Round of 16, but all four also facing the possibility of a group-stage exit.
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