Colombia thrash Poland to keep hopes alive

Colombia thrash Poland to keep hopes alive
Santiago Arias of Colombia (R) and Dawid Kownacki of Poland in action the FIFA World Cup 2018 group H preliminary round soccer match between Poland and Colombia in Kazan, Russia, 24 June 2018.

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Sunday Jun 24, 2018. 21:56

Colombia thrashed Poland 3-0 in their second 2018 FIFA World Cup Group H match at the Kazan Arena in Russia on Sunday.

The win took the Coffee Growers to third place on the Group H standings with one game left, while the White and Reds are placed fourth on the table.

The White and Reds threatened first through Robert Lewandowski, who was looking to hand his side an early lead just five minutes into the encounter.

Bartosz Bereszynski played a cross into the box and Lewandowski got his head to the ball, but the Poland striker could not get enough power on his effort to trouble Colombia goalkeeper David Ospina.

The Europeans were dominating possession and Maciej Rybus tried to play a through pass for Dawid Kownacki in the 11th minute, but Ospina came out rushing and he snatched the ball away.

The Coffee Growers created their first real chance in the 25th minute following some good work by Radamel Falcao in the 25th minute.

Falcao tried to back-heel the ball into the path of Juan Cuadrado, but Poland defender Lukasz Piszczek got round to boot the ball to safety as Poland survived a scare.

Colombia then suffered a blow in the 31st minute when Abel Aguilar went down injured and he was replaced by Mateus Uribe.

The momentum was with the Coffee Growers and Cuadrado forced Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny into a fine save following a brilliant solo run by the skillful winger.

Colombia deservedly broke the deadlock in the 40th minute through Yerry Mina following a good move by the South American giants.

James Rodriguez played a cross to Mina, who headed past Szczesny to make it 1-0 to Colombia much to the delight of the Coffee Growers supporters inside the stadium.

Poland then stood firm at the back until the match referee Cesar Arturo Ramos blew the half-time whistle and Colombia were leading 1-0 at the interval.

Colombia enjoyed more possession after the restart and Cuadrado squared the ball for Falcao, who took on a first time shot which sailed over the crossbar in the 52nd minute.

The White and Reds nearly levelled matters two minutes before the hour-mark following a long ball from Jan Bednarek.

The long ball found Lewandowski, who controlled the ball well, but Ospina came out and made himself big - blocking the Poland captain's shot.

Lewandowski, who was working tirelessly for his side, then saw his goal-bound effort blocked by Colombia defender Davinson Sanchez in the 67th minute.

The Coffee Growers then doubled their lead against the run of play in the 70th minute when Juan Fernando Quintero set-up Falcao, who fired past Szczesny to make it 2-0 to Colombia.

It was soon 3-0 to Colombia five minutes later following a quick counter attack with Rodriguez finding Cuadrado with a delightful pass and the latter scored with a low effort.

Lewandowski tried to grab Poland's late consolation goal in the 88th minute, but Ospina produced a brilliant finger-tipping save to ensure that the game ended in a 3-0 win in favour of Colombia.

Poland (0) 0
Colombia (1) 3 (Mina 40', Falcao 70', Cuadrado 75')

Poland: Szczesny, Pazdan (Glik 80'), Bednarek, Bereszynski (Teodorczyk 72') Piszczek, Goralski, Krychowiak, Rybus, Zielinski, Lewandowski, Kownacki (Grosicki 57').

Colombia: Ospina, Arias, Mina, Mojica, Sanchez, Barrios, Aguilar (Uribe 32'), Rodriguez, Cuadrado, Quintero (Lerma 73'), Falcao (Bacca 78').

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