Poland and Mexico performed out an entertaining 0-0 draw of their opening Phrase Cup Group C sport on Tuesday, with Polish skipper Robert Lewandowski failing to interrupt his event duck when his second-half penalty was saved at Stadium 974.
Lewandowski earned the penalty after a VAR test 11 minutes into the second half when Hector Moreno tugged at his shirt. Nevertheless, the striker, who has by no means scored on the World Cup, noticed his shot saved by Guillermo Ochoa.
“At the moment I really feel sorry for Robert, as a result of I understand how a lot he needed to attain on the World Cup,” Poland coach Czeslaw Michniewicz stated.
“Thus far he has not succeeded, however I hope that within the subsequent alternatives that lie forward of him he’ll convert them into targets.”
The end result leaves Saudi Arabia as shock group leaders following their gorgeous 2-1 upset of Argentina, one of many pre-tournament favourites, earlier on Tuesday.
Mexico’s Raul Jimenez in motion with Poland’s Kamil Glik REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini
Non permanent arenaIn a short lived area constructed utilizing 974 recycled transport containers that overlooks the Arabian Gulf, a sea of Mexico followers in inexperienced outnumbered their Poland counterparts and made their presence felt within the 40,000-capacity venue.
The Mexicans gave a stirring rendition of their nationwide anthem that lowered winger Alexis Vega, who’s taking part in at his first World Cup, to tears.
Proper after kickoff the followers raised the quantity with a Mexican wave that swept by way of the stands whereas the distinctive steel construction of the stadium reverberated as they bounced up and down with chants of “Mexico, Mexico!”
A flowing sport of few fouls however fewer probabilities got here to life across the half-hour mark when Vega noticed his header fly extensive earlier than Jesus Gallardo was denied with a last-man deal with when he had an open aim at his mercy two minutes later.
Mexico had the majority of possession however with out Raul Jimenez spearheading the assault, Henry Martin struggled to get on the top of probabilities within the field.
On the different finish, Poland did not get Lewandowski concerned because the Barcelona striker – who has scored 18 targets for the Spanish membership this season – acquired little service. Each keepers completed the primary half with out having to make a save.
As Poland struggled to impose themselves, the Mexican followers chanted “Ole” for each move their workforce accomplished.
With Poland dropping the midfield battle, coach Czeslaw Michniewicz made a halftime substitution by hauling off Nicola Zalewski and bringing on central midfielder Krystian Bielik, which allowed Piotr Zielinski to play in a complicated function.
The tactical change appeared to work initially as Poland created probabilities and ultimately gained the penalty as Moreno desperately tried to stop Lewandowski from taking a free shot on aim.
After a prolonged VAR test, Lewandowski stepped as much as take the penalty and as each units of followers within the stadium held their breath, he shot low however Ochoa dived to his left to disclaim the Pole earlier than his workforce mates cleared the hazard.
Mexico’s goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa celebrates after saving Robert Lewandowski’s penalty for Poland. Photograph: Twitter/ @FIFAWorldCup
‘Watch his movies’Ochoa, who cast his status as a dependable shot-stopper who ups his sport at World Cup tournaments, was fired up after the save whereas the Mexican followers jeered as Lewandowski held his head with each arms.
“We labored on that (watching Lewandowski movies) with the goalkeeper coach for a month,” a smiling Ochoa stated.
“It is at all times troublesome to observe his penalty movies, you watch greater than 15-20 penalties, so that you by no means know which aspect to decide on. Ultimately I am joyful to avoid wasting the penalty, he is an important striker.”
To not be outdone by Ochoa’s brilliance, Polish keeper Wojciech Szczesny underlined his credentials moments later when he reacted rapidly to alter course and hold out Martin’s glancing header.
Mexico coach Gerardo Martino ultimately introduced on Jimenez with 20 minutes to go within the second half to interchange Martin however the Wolverhampton Wanderers striker getting back from a protracted harm lay-off did not have a shot on aim.
“We had been on the entrance foot within the first half, we deserved a bonus at halftime,” Martino stated, including that they grew to become “predictable and cautious” as the sport wore on.
“The penalty was a mistake from us however usually phrases I believe we must always have gained the sport given what we did within the first half.”