Moscow: Senegal deservedly defeated Poland in a game of few chances to claim the first win by an African team at the World Cup – although there was a hint of controversy about their second goal.
M’Baye Niang sprinted back on to the field of play after injury and immediately intercepted a backpass from midfield, beating former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny and Southampton defender Jan Bednarek to the ball.
He then slotted into an empty net – to the confusion and disgust of several Poland players, who protested in vain to referee Nawaf Shukralla.
The Lions of Teranga had taken the lead shortly before the break when a shot from Everton’s Idrissa Gueye took a huge deflection off the unfortunate Thiago Cionek.
Poland created little, with striker Robert Lewandowski feeding on scraps and heavily marked by Senegal’s huge central defensive pairing of Salif Sane and Kalidou Koulibaly.
But they ensured a frantic finale when Grzegorz Krychowiak headed home a free-kick at the far post. The result came hours after Japan had defeated 10-man Colombia in Group H’s opening game – and one of the qualifiers could go on to play England in the last 16.