Missed Chances And Lewandowski Magic Relegates Wales

Wales were defeated 1-0 by Poland at the Cardiff City Stadium
21:52, 25 Sep 2022

Wales have been relegated to League B of the UEFA Nations League after suffering a 1-0 defeat against Poland at Cardiff City Stadium.

In a game that Wales needed to win to avoid relegation from the top tier of the Nations League, Rob Page’s side were undone by a lack of quality in the final third and a moment of star quality orchestrated by Lewandowski with his sublime Dennis Bergkamp-esque assist for Poland’s matchwinner Karol Swiderski.


The first half saw both sides have decent spells but it was Wales who had the better of the chances. Lewandowski had the first real opportunity in the game as he rose highest to meet a free-kick and his header was kept out by Wayne Hennesy. The hosts’ first chance came when Ben Cabango's clearance sent Dan James clear on goal, but his first shot was saved by Wojciech Szczesny and then his second attempt was saved on the rebound.

Poland were nearly caught out by a Connor Roberts long throw into the box. Gareth Bale found space on the corner of the six-yard box, but Wojciech Szczesny was on hand to deny the veteran forward. Then down the other end, Hennessey suffered a heart-in-mouth moment as he tried to control a back-pass, and it was inches away from being a bizarre own goal. Their best chance of the half came when Brennan Johnson managed to cut inside and get a shot away that looked goal-bound, only for it to hit James and fly wide.

The breakthrough came just before the hour mark and it was the visitors who struck first. Lewandowski did brilliantly to control a drilled cross from the left and with the same touch, he knocked the ball over the defence into the path of Swiderski who fired the ball past Hennessy. In response to the goal, Page called upon physical forward Kieffer Moore, who replaced Rhys Norrington-Davies. 

Despite the setback, Wales’ heads did not drop and they almost conjured up an instant response as Johnson had an effort stopped by Szczesny. The only problem they had in trying to find a way back into the game was that they left gaping holes in the midfield which made transition of play difficult. Chances still came, however, but it just felt that it wasn’t to be Wales’ day. Szczesny made a number of saves and there were other times where they were let down by the final ball. But what summed up the hosts’ shortcomings in front of goal more than anything was Bale seeing a header rattle against the crossbar in added time.

It was a frustrating evening for Wales and it wasn’t a case of they played poorly, they just lacked a real moment of quality and fortune with the chances they conjured, whereas Poland capitalised on their moment of magic supplied by Lewandowski with an assist that will knock around on social media for a while.

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