When the Hungarians took a 2-0 lead in the 57th minute, everything appeared to point to the Red-Whites losing at the outset of a World Cup qualifier for the first time in the twenty-first century – they had previously won in 2001 and 2005, and only lost three times.
Three replacements reached the pitch immediately after the second goal, and the game was level after two minutes. Krzysztof Pitek scored first, followed by Kamil Jówiak, all of whom came off the bench. It seemed as if coach Paulo Sousa had sought a solution to the problems he had created by picking the starting eleven and the tactical strategy for the meeting in Budapest, which culminated in the 57th-minute score.
After nearly an hour of play at the Puskas Arena, the aforementioned two minutes and goals for Poland erased the negative feeling. They didn’t have a chance until the break when Robert Lewandowski waited for a pass in or outside the penalty area for 20 minutes, but the ball didn’t come (he had just four contacts with it), so the captain returned to playing in the middle of the pitch. And, before the break, our offense was non-existent.
Roland Sallai received a pass behind defenders, did not allow Jan Bednarek to catch up, took advantage of Szczsny’s poor positioning, and kicked into the net to give the hosts the lead.
The Poles were unable to reply, despite promises from all – including the captain and goaltender – that it was time for the players to take more responsibility for the outcome and game.
It came to a close with one player glaring at the other before the break.
It was disappointing to see the Polish players’ impotence being repaid by the good and stable Hungarians. Fortunately, after the break, the offensive players were able to reach the net to make up for the joyous errors made at the back.
For a long time, the team’s midfielders could not add much – Reca just woke up a little after the break, and Sebastian Szymanski could not hold a duel and be also substituted. There was no acceleration, no element of surprise, and no idea how to get past Hungary’s well-organized security.
The introduction of replacements created uncertainty for the hosts, especially Jówiak, who performed admirably. For the second time, Lewandowski, Milik, and Pitek shared the floor. Only the latter was unable to score.
The captain saved a point with a perfect shot from many meters because, with the score at 2:2, the Poles could not slow down and gave the Hungarians too much room in their penalty area. Our team last lost three goals in October of 2018. (2:3 against Portugal in the Nations League).
The outcome reflects the most that Polish footballers can take away from Budapest. The game and design leave a lot to be desired.