Lewandowski rescues Poland in crunch fixture against Spain

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski came to Poland’s rescue by canceling out Alvaro Morata’s first-half goal in Seville, setting up an enthralling Group E final day.

Both teams were seeking their first Euro 2020 victory, and the game began at a frenetic pace.

Mateusz Klich created the first meaningful opportunity after six minutes, when he blasted a powerful attempt narrowly over the bar from 25 yards out.

Soon after the quarter-hour mark, Dani Olmo created Spain’s first genuine opportunity, but his shot went direct at Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.

Spain began to get into the game and moved higher up the field, and with 25 minutes remaining, La Furia Roja got the ball in the back of the goal.

Morata ghosted into the area and reacted quickest to tuck in Gerard Moreno’s cross shot before immediately embracing boss Luis Enrique, who started the Juventus player after his side’s dismal performance against Sweden in their opener.

After 34 minutes, Moreno fired a dangerous freekick just past of Szczesny’s goal, but Poland really should have levelled a minute later, when Karol Swiderski’s reckless attempt from close range flew over the bar after Lewandowski’s lofted pass into the area.

Poland supporters were left on the edge of their seats as their side came within a whisker of scoring again as the first half came to a conclusion.

Swiderski’s stinging drive from beyond the area rattled the post, and Lewandowski was unable to get his feet in enough to touch in the rebound, as Spanish goalkeeper Unai Simon stood tall to deny the Bayern Munich star.

Spain came close to doubling their lead late in extra time when Jordi Alba’s superb pass found Moreno down the left, but the number nine could only hit the side netting.

Poland manager Paulo Sausa and his players knew they needed to score to keep their knockout chances alive, and captain Lewandowski came to the rescue nine minutes into the second half.

Jakub Moder’s deft move in the center of the park initiated the assault, as the ball was passed out to Kamil Jozwiak, whose lofted cross was met by a beautiful Lewandowski header.

Poland’s star player soared to the highest point in the Spanish penalty area to reintroduce his nation to the game.

Poland’s joy, however, was short-lived, as Spain was given a penalty seconds later.

Referee Daniele Orsato awarded the spot-kick after a pitchside monitor assessment for a late challenge on Moreno.

Moreno gathered the ball to take his side’s penalty, but his attempt struck the post, with Morata failing to convert the rebound.

Spain persisted in its search for a victory as Poland progressively withdrew for the rest of the game.

On minute 65, Szczesny pushed Morata’s attempt away for a corner, while replacement Ferran Torres glanced an open header over with little over 15 minutes remaining.

Poland seemed to be heading for a shock winner when Lewandowski sent replacement Przemyslaw Frankowski down the right-hand side in the 77th minute.

The youngster’s last ball, though, was weak and was easily read by Pau Torres.

With five minutes remaining, Szczesny made up for some shaky goalkeeping by courageously smothering Morata’s point-blank attempt.

That would be the game’s last clear-cut opportunity, as the referee brought an exciting battle to a close at the Estadio de La Cartuja.

Spain remain winless and now sit third in Group E. While Poland earned their first point, they are aware that a victory against Sweden would ensure their qualification.

It is still anyone’s game going into Wednesday’s last day of Group E matches.


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