Poland 2-1 Argentina: Batista's men end dismal week with defeat as Brozek nets winner
After being dominated by Nigeria 4-1 on Wednesday, the South American side lost for the second time in a week as Franciszek Smuda's men secured victory at the Legia Stadium
By Roger Gonzalez
A second-half goal by Pawel Brozek was enough to see Poland down Argentina 2-1 as Sergio Batista's men failed to secure a positive result for the second time this week.
After the confusing loss to Nigeria, Brozek punished Argentina with a delightful chip halfway through the second half after a strike by Marco Ruben cancelled out a goal by Adrian Mierzejewsk.
Brozek took his goal with class, receiving a clever no-look through ball from Jakub Blaszczykowski. The striker chipped the ball softly over the charging Adrian Gabbarini to lead the Polish to victory.
Sergio Batista will return to Argentina with more pressure and questions from AFA boss Julio Grondona, who criticized the coach after the loss to the Super Eagles.
In Sunday's contest, the woes of Argentina continued just before the half hour.
A lofted pass over the Argentina back-line found Sevilla's Federico Fazio 25 minutes in. The young defender went to clear the ball, but failed miserably while trying. Mierzejewski lined up his body towards the goal and fired home with a volley past Gabbarini for the 1-0 advantage.
Argentina looked to have scored minutes later after a cluster of players in the box resulted in Marco Ruben's possession only a metre out of the goal after an entrance pass from Nicolas Bertolo. The striker lifted the ball softly over Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. With the ball rolling towards the net, Rafal Murawski slid while clearing the ball off the line.
In the ensuing minutes, Poland dominated possession and tempo moving forward to double the lead on the disappointing South Americans.
Argentina bounced back minutes into the second half after Emiliano Insua sent in a high cross that found Fernando Belluschi who knocked the ball over his head, finding Ruben, who had his back to the goal. With a defender all over his back, the Villarreal striker cut towards the outside and drilled a low shot into the net to tie the game.
With a bit more momentum, Batista's men went forward trying to play through the wings, sending in crosses to the forwards. Not many chances were found, but the high-pressure defence kept the Polish on their heels, forcing them to turn the ball over on many occasions. But the defence managed to counter with swift tackles and well-timed clearances.
The Europeans took the advantage halfway through the second half when Blaszczykowski filtered through the rolling ball into the box with a no-look pass, finding Brozek, who secured the win.
Argentina's next contest will be the opening game of the Copa America. when the hosts will take on Bolivia in La Plata.
Poland will face France on Thursday in a friendly.
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