ST PETERSBURG: Slovakia scored a surprise but deserved 2-1 victory over 10-man Poland in their Euro 2020 opener in Group E.
Milan Skriniar’s fine low shot on the turn from the edge of the penalty area secured the three points for Slovakia, a country ranked 36th in the world.
They had taken an early lead when the ball bounced off the post and rebounded in off Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after a fine run and shot from Robert Mak.
A neat inter-passing move on the left, sharply finished by Karol Linetty, brought the Poles level early in the second half.
But the 62nd-minute dismissal of midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak for a second booking changed the momentum of the match and Skriniar and Slovakia took full advantage seven minutes later.
Poland’s top-scoring captain Robert Lewandowski wasted a difficult equalising opportunity in stoppage time.
Marek Hamšík, Slovakia captain: “It’s unbelievable, it’s hard to describe. Few people expected us to take the victory today, but we went for it.”
Milan Škriniar, Slovakia match winner: “We’re delighted to start the competition with a win. It was a difficult game, Poland are a quality team.”
Štefan Tarkovič, Slovakia coach: “We were able to keep Lewandowski out of the match. The first half was great. We were asleep for a while at the start of the second half, but we managed to score again and survive the closing minutes.”
Paulo Sousa, Poland coach: “The idea was to be the protagonist with the ball and create chances, and we did that. We could do better, yes. We need to be better and show more courage, especially in our back line.”