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Lewandowski has his first EVER World Cup goal! Poland survive Saudi onslaught as Szczesny saves the day

18:20 EAT 26/11/2022
Poland Saudi Arabia World Cup 2022
Robert Lewandowski scored his first ever World Cup goal as Poland snatched a win against a wasteful Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
  • Zielinski opened the scoring
  • Szczesny made vital double save from penalty
  • Lewandowski scored first WC goal

TELL ME MORE: Saudi Arabia started the match with a touching tribute to injured defender Yasser Alshahrani, before dominating the early stages in a feisty first half. It was Poland who scored first, though, with Lewandowski putting it on a plate for Piotr Zielinski who fired home from close range. A lengthy VAR check gave Saudi Arabia the chance to equalise from the spot on the stroke of half-time, but heroics from Wojciech Szczesny kept Poland's lead intact. He first denied Salem Al-Dawsari - who appeared to take the ball out of Firas Al-Buraikan's hands - before spectacularly tipping Mohammed Al-Burayk's follow-up over the bar.

ALSO OF NOTE: Saudi Arabia spurned a host of guilt-edged chances before Poland doubled their lead, with Lewandowski capitalising on an error from Abdulelah Al Malki to score his firstWorld Cup goal. The Poland forward should perhaps have had a second late on, but it will be Herve Renard who will be wondering how his side didn't pick up at least a point.

THE MVP: Wojciech Szczesny. While Lewandowski may get all the plaudits, Szczesny's two saves in quick succession to deny Al-Dawsari and Al-Burayk were pivotal. With Poland taking a shock lead and facing a raucous atmosphere in Al Rayyan largely in support of the Saudis, Szczesny's double save just before the break couldn't have come at a better time. The veteran shot stopper was also at hand to deny Saudi Arabia at several points in the second half, as Poland ground out a crucial victory.

THE BIG LOSER: Salem Al-Dawsari. After his stunning strike against Argentina secured a famous victory for Saudi Arabia, it was somewhat of a fall from grace for Al-Dawsari against Poland. The winger was not only absent for large periods of the game, but was guilty of missing several opportunities, none more significant than the penalty on the stroke of half time. The miss was made even worse by Al-Dawsari seemingly calling rank and taking the ball from Al-Buraikan, who will think twice before allowing that to happen again.

MATCH IN THREE PHOTOS:

AS IT STANDS:

TeamPWDLGDPTS
Poland2110+24
Saudi Arabia2101-13
Mexico101001
Argentina1001-10

WHAT NEXT? After picking up vital points against Saudi Arabia, Poland face their toughest test in Group C against Argentina on matchday 3. The Saudis take on Mexico on the same day, needing a win to give them the best chance of qualifying to the next round.

MATCH RATING (OUT OF FIVE):