Football: Poland defeated in the Nations League game

Portuguese players celebrate after scoring the second goal. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel

On Thursday night, Poland had a chance to top its Nations League group but was defeated by Portugal 2-3 and remains in second place.

Robert Lewandowski will not dwell on his 100th game in the national team as Poland was defeated by Portugal and remains second in the nations League group.

The game was of a fast pace from the opening minutes. It was end to end action with both sides determined not to settle for a draw.

Portugal appealed for a penalty in the 15th minute but the referee was unmoved. A few minutes earlier, Lewandowski had a chance to go 1 on 1 with the Portuguese goalkeeper but was ruled offside.

However, in the 18th minute Poland gained the lead. Following Rafał Kurzawa’s precise cross from the corner, Krzysztof Piątek jumped the highest at the far corner and squeezed the ball in next to the goalpost.

Portugal’s response almost came 4 minutes later with Andre Silva losing his markers and facing just goalkeeper Łukasz Fabiański in front of him. Replays showed that the Portuguese striker was unlucky as he was onside.

Poland was pushed back deep into their own half and forced, at times, into desperate defending. With Portugal pressing hard up the field, Poland had trouble leaving its own half.

The pressure soon paid off. In the 31st minute, following a cross, Andre Silva found himself with acres of space in the six yard box and scored the equalizing goal.

Matters went from bad to worse and in the 43rd minute, Poland fell behind. Following an excellent through ball, Rafa Silva ran past the intervening Fabiański and faced an open goal. Eventually the goal was attributed to defender Kamil Glik who attempted a slide tackle but pushed the ball into his own net.

The half time break did not stop the Portuguese team which extended its lead soon after the game recommenced. Bernardo Silva’s low shot from outside the penalty areas was not blocked by either of the defenders and Łukasz Fabiański was helpless as the ball rolled past him and into the net.

Despite falling behind, Poland kept on fighting.

In the 76th minute, Kamil Grosicki’s cross from the right was not cleared by the Portuguese defenders and landed right at the feet of Kuba Błaszczykowski. His precise shot from outside the penalty area was out of reach of the goalkeeper. It was Błaszczykowski’s 103rd game in the Polish national team, he thus became the Polish all-time most-capped player.

Polish fans soon held their breath as Renato Sanchez ran past Fabiański and was about to put the ball in the empty net. However, a last ditch goal-line clearance kept Poland in the game.

However, Poland was unable to further change the score and the game ended 2-3.

The next game is on Sunday when Poland faces Italy, with whom it drew 1-1 in the first leg.