Slovakia started their first major tournament with a win after shocking an uninspired Poland 2-1 through Milan Skriniar’s second half winner in their Group E curtain raiser in Saint Petersburg on Monday.
Slovakia looked comfortable in the first half. They opened the scoring in the 18th minute after Robert Mak’s solo run and effort dropped off Wojciech Szczesny’s near post before bouncing off the goalkeeper’s right shoulder into the goal.
Poland needed some time to recover, and restored parity 27 seconds after the restart as Karol Linetty finished off Maciej Rybus’ build-up work.
The Polish team increased the pressure but suffered a setback at the hour mark when Grzegorz Krychowiak was shown his second yellow card and received the marching orders.
Slovakia showed no mercy and utilised their numerical advantage moments later as Poland failed to clear a corner, allowing Skriniar to drill the decider from 14 meters into the top left corner to stun Poland.
Poland pressed frenetically for the equaliser. Slovakia’s defines, however, stood firm and secured the top spot in Group E for the moment.