CHORZOW, Poland. October 11 – Robert Lewandowski failed to inspire Poland on his 100th international appearance as Portugal came from behind to claim a 3:2 win in the UEFA Nations League.
Final score: Poland – Portugal 2:3
Krzysztof Piatek nodded the home side in front but, despite Cristiano Ronaldo’s absence, Portugal rallied, and, having equalised through Andre Silva, were ahead by the interval thanks to Kamil Glik’s own goal.
Bernardo Silva benefitted from poor Lukasz Fabianski goalkeeping to put Portugal further ahead six minutes into the second half, ensuring that Jakub Blaszczykowski’s fine strike was a mere consolation.
Lewandowski could have capped his milestone appearance with a goal after he was put through in the 10th minute, but a tight offside call came to Portugal’s rescue.
Poland soon had the lead, though, Piatek rising highest at the back post to head home Rafal Kurzawa’s right-wing cross.
The offside flag denied Rafa Silva an immediate equaliser, but Portugal’s pressure told just after the half-hour, Andre Silva tucking in from Pizzi’s cut-back.
Portugal had their tails up and scored again in the 42nd minute as Glik’s desperate tackle on Rafa Silva sent the ball into the net after the Benfica midfielder – teed up by a wonderful Ruben Neves pass – had rounded Fabianski.
Piotr Zielinski had Rui Patricio scrambling following the restart, though Fabianski’s failure to deal with Bernardo Silva’s low strike at the other end soon compounded Poland’s misery.
Substitute Blaszczykowski set up a grandstand finish with an exquisite 77th-minute half-volley, although Poland’s comeback hopes would have been ended had Tomasz Kedziora not cleared Renato Sanches’ effort off the line.
That miss did not ultimately prove costly, though, as Portugal held firm to condemn Poland to their first defeat under Jerzy Brzeczek.
What does it mean: Brzeczek’s wait for a win goes on:
Adam Nawalka’s five-year stint as Poland boss was brought to an end after their disappointing campaign at Russia 2018, but new coach Brzeczek has not fared much better, having drawn against Italy and the Republic of Ireland prior to Friday’s (AEST) clash.
Portugal, meanwhile, top League A Group Three with six points from their opening two Nations League fixtures.
Piatek the heir to Lewandowski’s throne:
While there were dominant displays across the park for Portugal, Poland were not so fortunate. Piatek, however, did stand out. The Genoa youngster has been one of Europe’s in-form players with 13 goals in eight appearances for the Serie A club in all competitions, and wasted no time in leaving his mark on the international stage.
Lacklustre Lewandowski fails to spark:
With Piatek’s emergence, Poland may have a promising foil to Lewandowski, but the Bayern Munich man is still their key player, but other than a half-sighting of goal early on, the centurion never stamped his authority on proceedings.
While Portugal travel to Glasgow to face Scotland in a friendly, Poland continue their Nations League campaign with a home game against Italy.
Poland – Portugal 2:3 (1:2)
Goals: Piątek 18′, Błaszczykowski 77′ – André Silva 31′, Glik 42′ (OG), Bernardo Silva 52′
Yellow carded: Klich, Krychowiak – André Silva, William Carvalho, Pepe, Mário Rui
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande (Spain) Attendance: 48 783
Poland: 22. Łukasz Fabiański – 18. Bartosz Bereszyński (46, 4. Tomasz Kędziora), 15. Kamil Glik, 5. Jan Bednarek, 3. Artur Jędrzejczyk – 14. Mateusz Klich (63, 16. Jakub Błaszczykowski), 10. Grzegorz Krychowiak, 20. Piotr Zieliński, 21. Rafał Kurzawa (64, 11. Kamil Grosicki) – 23. Krzysztof Piątek, 9. Robert Lewandowski
Portugal: 1. Rui Patrício – 2. João Cancelo, 3. Pepe, 6. Rúben Dias, 19. Mário Rui – 18. Rúben Neves, 20. Pizzi (75, 8. Renato Sanches), 14. William Carvalho – 10. Bernardo Silva (90, 16. Bruno Fernandes), 11. André Silva, 17. Rafa Silva (85, 13. Danilo Pereira)
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