The White Eagles were too good for the Elephants in Poznan...Poland’s preparations for Euro 2012 continued with a fine 3-1 home victory over Cote d’Ivoire, in which brace-scorer Robert Lewandowski was the star.
The hosts made a terrific start to the game and had created a couple of presentable openings for themselves by the time Lewandowski gave them the advantage with nearly 20 minutes played. It was Rafal Murawski who was the lock picker, though his task to thread a through ball to the forward was made simple by a ragged backline. The striker’s finish was far from easy, even after he had rounded the goalkeeper, but from a tight angle he squeezed the ball home.
Les Elephants were quick to show that they were not simply prepared to lie down, drawing deservedly level on the stroke of half-time. Guy Demel’s centre was met by Gervinho, whose initial effort was blocked only for the ball to fall kindly for him to crack into the net at the second attempt.
It would be the winger’s club-mate Ludovic Obraniak who scored what proved to be the winning goal for the White Eagles. From an acute angle wide on the right, he swung a free kick directly into the far top corner of the net.
Ten minutes before time, the hosts added a third goal, and once again it was remarkably simple. There were echoes of the opening goal as a gaping hole appeared in the visiting rearguard, allowing Lewandowski plenty of room to run through and slide a calm finish into the corner of the net.
Both teams would have their spells of dominance in this encounter, with Poland making much of the early running only to be subjugated into long spells of defence after they had taken the lead initially. Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski continued his promising club form with a couple of smart reflex blocks prior to the break.
The second half would be a scrappier affair. Cote d’Ivoire were disappointing in the final third of the field, rarely working the home custodian, while Poland were reduced to counterattacking, a ploy they managed with some success due to their guests’ unstable defence.
Franciszek Smuda’s side have not been in especially good form of late, so such a comprehensive victory will come as welcome relief, even if their guests were deprived of top players such as Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou.