Euro 2020: Slovakia wins over Poland, Milan Skriniar fantastically moved to victory

Slovakia defender Milan Skriniar concluded a fantastic afternoon by scoring the winner in the team’s 2-1 triumph over Poland in the first Euro 2020 Group E match on Monday, capping a magnificent all-around performance.

After Poland’s midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak was sent off for a second yellow card in the 62nd minute, the 26-year-old centre defender struck a magnificent 69th-minute strike into the bottom-right corner. Slovakia took an early lead, thanks to an own goal by Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny in the 18th minute, however, Karol Linetty equalised in the 46th minute.

Poland started well but fell behind when Robert Mak used deft movement to beat two defenders on the left flank and cut inside before his shot hit the post and rebounded off Szczesny into the net. Slovakia continued to absorb pressure but always looked threatening on the break, with Juraj Kucka, a central midfielder, curling a long-range effort over the crossbar in the 27th minute.

Lewandowski, Poland’s leading scorer, failed to produce an impression in the first half, scuffing a shot from within the penalty area-wide in the 42nd minute. With Slovakia’s solid defence cutting off supply routes to striker Robert Lewandowski, Krychowiak came up with Poland’s first significant effort, a shot from 25 meters that soared over.

Mateusz Klich released Maciej Rybus, who passed the ball back to Linetty, who scrambled a close-range shot into the far corner to bring Poland level 30 seconds after the break. After Krychowiak was sent off for a foolish challenge on an opponent, Skriniar, who had man-marked Lewandowski out of the game, struck with aplomb at the other end, the Poles were down to ten men. Skriniar, who won the Serie A league title with Inter Milan this season, gave Szczesny no chance with a vicious low strike from 14 meters after the Poles failed to clear a corner.

As Poland pressed in the dying moments, Lewandowski flicked a close-range header over in the 87th minute, and Jan Bednarek missed the game’s final chance in stoppage time when he shot wide from within the penalty area.

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