WARSAW, Poland. September 2 (PSN) – In their first match after the EUROs, the Poland national team won big with a 4:1 score at home on Thursday with Albania in FIFA 2022 World Cup qualifying.
Final score: Poland – Albania 4:1
While an impressive result, it certainly didn’t come easy. Albania surprised Poland and played quick and smart football from the early minutes, to a point even where the visitors were actually dominating the hosts at times.
The statistics after the first half were the most telling, where the the Poles only had two shots on goal, while and the Albanians – eight. Fortunately for Paulo Sousa’s team, Albania didn’t have Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich started the scoring in the 12th minute, where the Polish captain finished a well-played free kick (Jakub Moder’s cross, Kamil Glik’s header) with a header.
However, it didn’t take Albania long to level the scoreline, as the Polish defence left plenty of space for the visiting side’s attack and ended up being punished for it by Sokol Cikalleshi . The striker scored the equalizer in the 25th minute after gracefully collecting a pass from deep within the midfield and fired the ball in far post, completely beating Wojciech Szczesny.
Then just before the break, Adam Buksa, who marked his debut on the national team, used a cross from Przemyslaw Frankowski into the penalty box and scored a header from it to get back on top.
Despite the two goals in the first half, the Poles play was generally lacklustre and uninspiring compared to Albania’s efforts, who were mostly very unlucky upfront.
Things certainly improved in the second half, especially after a third goal courtesy from Grzegorz Krychowiak in the 54th minute. This goal came largely thanks to a superb run by Lewandowski, who took on the Albanian defence by himself and dribbled the ball from the centre of the pitch all the way into the penalty box running on the right wing. A final pass to Krychowiak to tap the ball into the net earned the Bialo-czerwoni an increase in their lead.
Karol Swiderski later in the game would allow Poland to get a fourth goal, as some fine ball control from him allowed Karol Linetti to find space alone with Albanian goalkeeper Etrit Berisha. The Torino midfielder took full advantage of the opportunity and made a spectacular shot against the crossbar, which immediately then saw the ball bounce and land directly into the net.
This win at home has allowed Poland to now move up to the second place in the Group I, all due to the current runner-ups Hungary having lost 0:4 with England on the same day.
Sousa’s White Eagles will play San Marino next on Sunday.
Poland – Albania 4:1 (2:1)
Goals: Lewandowski 12′, Buksa 44′, Krychowiak 54′, Linetty 89′ – Çikalleshi 25′
Yellow carded: Świderski, Bednarek – Abrashi, Bare, Hysaj, Gjasula, Manaj
Referee: Maurizio Mariani (Italy)
Attendance: 38 254
Poland: 1. Wojciech Szczęsny – 18. Bartosz Bereszyński (33, 3. Paweł Dawidowicz), 15. Kamil Glik, 5. Jan Bednarek – 7. Kamil Jóźwiak, 16. Jakub Moder, 10. Grzegorz Krychowiak, 21. Przemysław Frankowski (62, 8. Karol Linetty), 13. Maciej Rybus (81, 23. Tymoteusz Puchacz) – 14. Adam Buksa (81, 11. Karol Świderski), 9. Robert Lewandowski
Albania: 1. Etrit Berisha – 4. Elseid Hysaj, 18. Ardian Ismajli, 15. Marash Kumbulla, 6. Berat Djimsiti, 20. Lorenc Trashi (67, 21. Odise Roshi) – 7. Keidi Bare, 8. Klaus Gjasula, 22. Amir Abrashi (74, 9. Endri Çekiçi) – 10. Rey Manaj (68, 19. Bekim Balaj), 16. Sokol Çikalleshi (83, 11. Myrto Uzuni)
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