Poland secure narrow 1-0 win over Albania in Euro 2024 qualifier thanks to Karol Świderski’s goal.
Poland extended their unbeaten home run in European Championship qualifying to 17 games with a narrow 1-0 victory over Albania in Warsaw thanks to Karol Świderski’s first-half strike.
After beginning his tenure as Poland boss with a 3-1 defeat to the Czech Republic, Fernando Santos was hoping his first home game in charge would produce a better result. Following a cagey opening 10 minutes, Nicola Zalewski mustered the first shot of the contest, drawing a smart stop from Thomas Strakosha with a long-range strike.
In the opposition dugout, Sylvinho was overseeing his first match as Albania boss, and the former Barcelona full-back would have been encouraged when Sokol Cikalleshi’s powerful effort forced Wojciech Szczęsny into action. However, Sylvinho’s mood quickly changed in the 41st minute as Świderski opened the scoring for the hosts. Jakub Kamiński’s driven strike from the edge of the box struck the post, but from the subsequent rebound, Świderski was on hand to poke home his ninth international goal.
As the contest drifted towards the hour mark, Albania went close to an equaliser twice in quick succession. Myrto Uzuni cut inside onto his right foot, before producing a fierce strike, which was pushed behind by Szczęsny. Just seconds later, the Juventus goalkeeper was required once again to prevent Kristjan Asllani from finding the net. As Albania pushed for a leveller, they were reminded that they needed to remain vigilant in the defensive third when Robert Lewandowski coolly lifted the ball over Strakosha, only for a goalline clearance to ensure the deficit remained at just one goal.
A second goal continued to evade the hosts, as Jakub Kiwior sent a header wide before Lewandowski fired over the bar. Poland looked set to be punished in the 87th minute when a low cross found Uzuni at the near-post, but he spurned the gilt-edged opportunity, guiding the ball past the post. The result moves Poland into second place in their Euro 2024 qualifying group, while Albania are left languishing at the foot of the group after one game.