Milan Skriniar fired in an excellent second half winner as Slovakia downed Robert Lewandowki’s ten-man Poland to earn his facet an excellent Euro 2020 opening victory in St Petersburg.
The Slovakians took a deserved lead following Wojciech Szczesny’s personal purpose, however Karol Linetty clawed Poland again into the sport when he levelled the scoreline simply seconds after the interval.
Nevertheless, Grzegorz Krychowiak’s second half sending off flipped the sport on its head and Skriniar, as soon as courted by Chelsea, Tottenham, and Manchester United, expertly fired in to earn Slovakia an unlikely three factors of their Group E opener.
The Poles dominated the early possession, with Lewandowski – who struck a record-breaking 41 targets for Bayern Munich final season – testing the Slovakian again line with two wayward pictures early on.
Ondrej Duda struck an effort large for Slovakia moments later, along with his fierce shot drifting simply large of Szczesny’s publish.
In what was a surprising particular person purpose, towards the run of play, Robert Mak – as soon as of Man City’s academy – shocked Poland with an unbelievable effort to breathe life into the competition.
The 30-year-old Ferencvaros midfielder fantastically nutmegged Bartosz Bereszynski earlier than firing a low shot off the publish into Szczęsny, who couldn’t forestall the ball from going into his personal internet.
It was one other opening day shocker at a significant event for the previous Arsenal goalkeeper, who was despatched off within the opening sport of Euro 2012, received injured within the Euro 2016 opener and made an enormous mistake towards Senegal on the World Cup in 2018.
As Poland stepped up their domination of possession, the Slovakian’s efficiency on the break solely turned extra harmful.
Mak and report look maker Marek Hamsik’s velocity and innovation was clear for all to see and so they practically double their lead when Juraj Kucka fired a venomous effort simply over the bar.
Poland continued to maintain the ball effectively however Slovakia have been the one crew who seemed like scoring, with Kucka testing Szczesny with a header shortly after one other electrical break.
In what was his one clear opening of the primary half, Lewandowski fired a low shot large from simply inside the world and his facet deservedly went into the break a purpose down.
Simply 30 seconds into the second half, Poland have been stage, as Karol Linetty slotted residence from shut vary following a pinpoint cutback from Maciej Rybus.
The sport, nevertheless was flipped on it’s head with half an hour to play when Gregor Krychowiak was despatched off for a second yellow card.
The midfielder, having been booked within the first half, then tripped Jakub Hromada in what was a senseless problem.
Skriniar, who was imperious as Inter received the Serie A title final season, instantly made Slovakia’s further man pay as he expertly fired residence from a nook.
Southampton’s Jan Bednarek got here inches away from scoring an harm time leveller, his shot edging simply large however Slovakia in the end had sufficient to see the sport by and earn an excellent victory.
Lewandowski and his Poland facet should now get able to face Spain on Saturday evening as they give the impression of being to salvage their knockout stage qualification hopes.
Slovakia, in the meantime, might be bounding into their sport with Sweden on Friday afternoon stuffed with confidence.
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