Lewandowski v Mane as Poland brace for Senegal test

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

Moscow , Russia (AFP) — Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane face off in a mouth-watering World Cup shootout between two of European football's most lethal forwards today as Poland take on Senegal.

Bayern Munich's Lewandowski finished the season as the Bundesliga's top scorer for the third time with 29 goals, netting 41 times in all competitions.

Mane scored 10 Champions League goals — including one in the final in Kiev — forming a devastating strike force at Liverpool alongside Egypt's Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino of Brazil.

“I believe Sadio can be one of the stars of the tournament,” said former Senegal player El Hadji Diouf, who played in Japan and South Korea in 2002, the only previous time the country has reached the World Cup.

Poland go into the Group H match at Moscow's Spartak Stadium as favourites and are expected to emerge from a section also featuring Colombia and Japan.

Ranked eighth in the world, it is Poland's eighth appearance at the World Cup, with coach Adam Nawalka's side desperate to improve on the third-place finishes in 1974 and 1982.

Lewandowski admits he has a point to prove after a disappointing Euro 2016 when he scored only once as Poland exited at the quarter-finals stage.

The 29-year-old is finally reproducing his prolific club form at international level, setting a European qualification record with 16 goals in 10 matches to secure Poland's place in Russia.

Lewandowski said he was entering the tournament in a different frame of mind from 2016.

“I'm sure that training will be better now and that I'll be fresh and dynamic at the right time,” he said. “I started preparing for the World Cup much earlier.”

Poland received a boost in the lead-up to the tournament when defender Kamil Glik was cleared to play after an unexpectedly quick recovery from a shoulder injury.

The centre-back is one of the team's leaders and his job will be to keep Mane quiet while remaining alert to other threats such as Monaco teammate Keita Balde.

Senegal will hope to emulate the pioneering team of 2002 captained by Aliou Cisse, now the national coach.

Cisse's men opened that tournament with one of the great World Cup upsets, a 1-0 win over defending champions France, and went on to become one of only three African teams ever to reach the quarter-finals.

Cisse described it as “a great adventure” and wants his charges, ranked 27 in the world, to adopt the same fearless approach in Russia.

“That team already created its bit of history, and now it's up to this one to create its own,” he told FIFA.com.

“We'll have to go there without an insecurity complex, play our natural game, and stick to our African identity which defines our football.”

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon