A slightly disjointed Poland team learned not to underestimate African opposition after being defeated 1-0 by Nigeria's Super Eagles in Wrocław last night.
Adam Nawalka's side play Senegal in their opening World Cup game this June, and yesterday's fixture against Nigeria was intended to give Poland experience of playing against similar opposition.
Poland started brightly enough, with Lewandowski coming within inches of scoring on 11 minutes when his over-stretched right foot directed the ball off the post. The home side then went even closer to scoring just before half time, when Grzegorz Krychowiak's header was spectacularly cleared off the line by Willian Troost-Ekong.
However, Nigeria acquitted themselves very well in the first half and they managed to fashion a few chances themselves. The Super Eagles' confident first half showing clearly gave the team the belief that they could go on to win, and in the 60th minute they were granted a golden opportunity from the penalty spot.
The impressive Victor Moses, a regular starter at Premier League champions Chelsea, won the penalty by going to ground after driving inside Poland's box. Marcin Kaminski did stick out a leg in attempt to tackle Moses, but then suddenly pulled out when he saw he couldn't take the ball. Anticipating the contact, Moses threw himself to the ground and convinced English referee Michael Oliver to point to the spot.
Moses then sent substitute goalkeeper Białkowski the wrong way to open the scoring for Nigeria.
Poland did push forward to try and earn at least a share of the spoils in front of the sell-out at Stadion Wrocław, but unfortunately the home side were unable to manufacture any clear-cut chances.
Lewandowski was also substituted with around 20 minutes still on the clock, which showed that Adam Nawalka was more keen on giving game time to his squad than going all out to win the friendly match.
Despite netting the only goal of the game in controversial circumstances, Nigeria were very well organised and put on a strong display. They were arguably the better side on the night and deserved their win.
The positive result capped off a good day for the Super Eagles, who had earlier enjoyed a walk around Dunikowskiego boulevard.
— Johnpaul Nwobodo ™ (@itz_Brainy) March 23, 2018
Pockets of Nigeria fans around the stadium were also delighted with their team's win. Contrary to the predictions of some ill-informed social media commentators, there was no racism anywhere to be seen in the stadium. Nigeria's supporters comfortably cheered on their side together with the Poland fans, both of whom happily mingled with one another in the stadium's stands and concourses.
The atmosphere at Poland national team games is almost entirely different from that experienced in Ekstraklasa fixtures, which are sometimes blighted by extremist propaganda or violence. While the stars on show were undoubtedly the main draw for the 42,000 fans who filled Stadion Wrocław, the more family atmosphere found at International games surely played its part too.