by Michał Dzida in Warsaw
This was supposed to be a test match before the EURO 2016 qualifiers, but Polish football fans at the Stadion Narodowy were left rather confused. After Scotland captain Scott Brown capitalised on a defensive error to smash in the only goal of the night, the Polish players were loudly booed off by their fans at the end of the game.
The last time Poland had beaten the Scots at home was over 20 years ago. In their 1980 meeting, Poland won by a single goal with Zbigniew Boniek, the current chief of the Polish Football Association, scoring the winner in Poznań. This time Polish football experts awaited a successful EURO 2016 pre-qualifiers test against the future group rivals.
In the first half of the friendly encounter, neither team took much of a risk to press offensively.
The guests bothered Szczęsny only once, when the Arsenal goalkeeper was called into action in 45th minute. The Poles tried only a little more; with Adam Nawalka’s team taking first half in a steady mood, not trying to use their offensive potential. Obraniak tried a cheeky shot in 12th minute, which Scottish goalkeeper Marshall pushed over the crossbar acrobatically. Chances also fell to both Milik and the new captain Piszczek, around the half-an-hour mark, but neither were able to convert.
The second half however, started with a much higher tempo. Ross McCormack should have given the visitors the lead ten minutes in, but he missed a great chance. Just two minutes later at the other end, the Polish defensive tower Kamil Glik was gifted a free header in Scottish box, yet with the goal gaping he could only steer the ball wide.
Polish fans gasped in hope ten minutes later too, when they witnessed a good chance for Augsburg striker Milik. But after great work from Peszko and a cool flick through from Obraniak, the 20 year-old was unable to divert his shot on target.
However once Polish domination began to wane, Scotland were allowed chances to get back into the game. A crucial last gasp block prevented the visitors from going in front; but after poor defending from the Polish back-line, Szukała’s clearance rolled straight to Brown, and the visiting skipper’s drive left Szczęsny with no chance.
Without his two key men in Robert Lewandowski and Jakub Błaszczykowski, Poland boss Adam Nawałka’s experiments proved to be inconclusive. Good performances from Bundesliga pair Obraniak and Peszko, and a confident showing from Milik were highlights, however the Biało-Czerwone will be looking forward to seeing their main men back in action in time for the qualifiers.
Poland – Scotland 0:1 (0:0)
12. Wojciech Szczęsny – 26. Łukasz Piszczek, 4. Łukasz Szukala, 15. Kamil Glik, 2. Tomasz Brzyski (Marcin Komorowski, 90′) – 5. Waldemar Sobota (Michał Masłowski, 88′), 8. Grzegorz Krychowiak (Tomasz Jodłowiec, 88′), 11. Mateusz Klich (Łukasz Teodorczyk, 81′), 10. Ludovic Obraniak (Marcin Robak, 73′), 17. Sławomir Peszko (Eugen Polański, 73ą) – 21. Arkadiusz Milik.
1. David Marshall – 2. Alan Hutton (Andrew Robertson, 67′), 4. Russell Martin, 5. Gordon Greer, 3. Charlie Mulgrew – 11. Ikechi Anya (Burke, 90′), 6. Barry Bannan (Phil Bardsley. 67′), 8. Scott Brown, 7. James Morrison, 10. Ross McCormack (Charlie Adam, 77′) – 9. Steven Fletcher (Steven Naismith, 46′).
Peszko – Hutton, Brown, Naismith