Controversial goal helps Senegal surprise Poland in Group H

[ESPN] – Senegal defeated Group H favourites Poland 2-1 at the World Cup on Tuesday thanks to an own goal and a controversial second strike.

Poland defender Thiago Cionek deflected a poor Idrissa Gueye shot past Wojciech Szczesny after 37 minutes to put the African side ahead.

Playing their first World Cup game since reaching the quarterfinals in 2002, Senegal doubled their lead on the hour mark through M’Baye Niang, but in questionable circumstances.

Niang had picked up a knock and gone to the sidelines for treatment, and the referee and fourth official allowed him to return to play just as Poland’s Grzegorz Krychowiak tried to pass the ball back to his goalkeeper.

Niang pounced on the ball, rounded keeper Wojciech Szczesny and tapped the ball into the open net.

Poland got a goal back with Krychowiak’s header in the 86th minute, and though they pushed forward for an equaliser, a second goal would not come late on. Poland have now gone six successive World Cups without scoring in their opening match and last won one in 1974.

The result leaves Senegal, famous winners over defending champions France in the opening match of their last World Cup appearance in 2002, level with Japan on three points atop the group.

Senegal is the only one of the five African sides in the competition to avoid defeat in their opening game. [Photo taken from BBC Sports]