Poland secures a crucial three points on the road against Albania
Adam Buksa and the Polish National Team closed out the October portion of UEFA World Cup Qualifying as they traveled to Arena Kombëtare to take on Albania.
Tuesday’s match was the second time these two nations have met in World Cup Qualifying action. The first meeting came in September, where Poland secured a 4-1 win.
Tuesday’s match was crucial for both teams as Albania entered the game in second place with 15 points while Poland crept close behind in third place, only trailing by one point.
Adam Buksa was a part of Tuesday’s starting lineup as he looked to continue his streak of good performances with the Polish National Team. Buksa would come into Poland’s previous match against San Marino in the 72nd minute as he netted Poland’s fourth goal in the 84th minute as Poland trounced San Marino 5-0.
Revs fans watching the match heart rate increased in the 6th minute as Adam Buksa fell to the pitch after being clipped in the lower leg inside the box. Buksa winced in pain as he grabbed at his lower leg. Luckily for Poland, Buksa was able to get up and continue, but a scare sight nonetheless.
It was a tough first half for Poland’s passing as they committed numerous turnovers. A turnover from Krychowiak in the 9th minute was nearly catastrophic for Poland as Albania came close to finding the opening goal.
Buksa came mere inches away from scoring an absolute beauty of a goal in the 14th minute. As the corner kick flew into the box, Buksa leaped into the air to catch it but ended up tumbling to the pitch. The ball would pinball inside the box off an array of Polish and Albanian players where it eventually fell near the downed Buksa. Buksa would strike the ball with his left leg from an awkward angle on the pitch as it rose ever slightly towards the crossbar. Unfortunately, Buksa’s attempt from the pitch sailed just above the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
Buksa looked to get the Poland offense rolling in the 29th minute as he was able to take possession of the ball around midfield and drive through the Albanian defense as he advanced towards goal. Buksa would lay it off to Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski who sent a shot, but it was deflected before it could reach Albania’s net.
Things got chippy in the 38th minute as Buksa and Marash Kumbulla would exchange some words after a foul from Buksa as Kumbulla would get in his way as Buksa attempted to track down a ball inside the box. Albanian keeper Etrit Berisha would come in and stick up for his defender as he lightly pushed Buksa forward. It wouldn’t be the end of the battle between Kumbulla and Buksa, as the Revolution and Polish striker would be booked just a minute later for committing a foul on Kumbulla in the 39th minute.
Buksa’s night came to an end in the 70th minute as he was replaced by Karol Świderski.
Former Chicago Fire midfielder Przemysław Frankowski came close to capitalizing on an Albanian turnover in the 72nd minute and looked to send a ball inward to Lewandowski but had it deflected by a recovering Albanian defender.
Karol Świderski would find the back of the net in the 77th minute after finding a perfectly placed cross from Michał Klich. Świderski’s goal came after he found the cross inside the box to the left of the net, where he struck the ball past the keeper on his near post.
Things turned nasty inside Arena Kombëtare as fans began to hurl projectiles onto the pitch and at Polish players celebrating the goal in the corner. It was not the first time projectiles were thrown in the game, as the head referee took a brief pause earlier in the match to talk with officials after some were thrown during an earlier Polish freekick.
As projectiles continued to rain down, the head referee called the players off the pitch for a moment as he assessed his next steps. A few moments later, players for both sides were brought back to their respective locker rooms as the crowd needed to be cooled down.
Around 20 minutes after having players brought off the pitch, both sides made their way back to the pitch and began to warm up for the remaining ten or so minutes remaining in regular time.
Not much happened for either side after the match resumed as Poland was able to secure a crucial three points on the road with a 1-0 victory over Albania. Tuesday’s victory is monumental for Poland as they move up to second place in Group I with 17 points. Tuesday’s win puts the power in Poland’s hands as their final two group stage matches are against Andorra and Hungary. Third-placed Albania has a tough hill to climb as they face England and Andorra in their final group stage matches. If Poland can stay in second, they will advance to the final round of qualifying as they look to make back-to-back World Cup appearances.