Poland have been left bewildered by a controversial goal to Senegal that proved the difference between the sides in their opening match of the World Cup.
The coach of Poland, Adam Nawalka, was “surprised” at the circumstances that led to Senegal’s decisive second goal in Wednesday’s Group H clash.
The match was in the balance on the hour mark with the African side leading 1-0 when M’Baye Niang controversially doubled their advantage.
Having been treated pitchside for an injury, the Torino striker was waved on at the very moment Grzegorz Krychowiak played a loose back pass, allowing Niang to run on to it, beat Wojciech Szczesny and slot home.
“The second goal was curious,” said Nawalka. “We were in possession of the ball and I’m convinced that [Jan] Bednarek didn’t see the player who came off the sidelines.
“It was a pass from the centre from Krychowiak, there was a misunderstanding, Szczesny tried to rectify the situation but he couldn’t. We were surprised, we thought there would be a substitute coming on.”
Poland were abject for much of the contest at Spartak Stadium, although Krychowiak did grab a late consolation, and, to his credit, Nawalka didn’t try to place the blame for his side’s defeat solely on Niang’s goal.
He added: “There were many bad elements to our game.
“We had a plan but plans are one thing and the implementation of the plan is completely different.
“The first half was much worse than the second, we played better after the break but it wasn’t enough.
“If you want to score at the World Cup then you need to play better. Two goals following our mistakes was something we are very unhappy with.
“We have to draw lessons from this and against Colombia we will have a much better mental attitude than today.”
The win sees Senegal become the first African team to notch a victory at the World Cup, following losses to Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia.
Poland were without key defender Kamil Glik, who failed to recover from a shoulder injury in time, and Nawalka was not sure if the Monaco man would be fit for the clash with Colombia on Sunday.
“It’s a difficult question, I really don’t know,” he said.
“He trained on Monday but it depends on the doctor whether Kamil will be a part of the team, his health is most important.”