Senegal scored one of the most controversial goals of the World Cup when a player ran back onto a wide-open field after an injury

  • Senegal’s M’Baye Niang scored a controversial and confusing goal against Poland in the World Cup that was the difference-maker in the match.
  • Niang was on the sidelines waiting to check back in, and he was allowed back into the game as Poland tried to redirect the ball into the backfield to its goalie.
  • Niang sprinted ahead, beat Poland’s goalie to the ball, and got a wide-open goal.
  • Senegal won the game, 2-1.

Senegal’s M’Baye Niang scored a crucial and controversial goal in a match against Poland on Tuesday in the World Cup when he sprinted back onto the pitch at just the right moment.

Niang was sent off the field with an injury just a minute earlier. He was tended to on the sideline, then returned to midfield, waiting to be subbed back in.

As Senegal and Poland volleyed the ball, Niang got brought back on the field just as Poland directed the ball back to its keeper to reset the possession.

It was then that Niang, unchecked, had an open path to the ball and the goal. Niang took advantage of the moment, beating Poland’s defender and its goalie to the ball, then scoring on a wide-open net to push the score to 2-0.

There was some confusion afterward as to how the situation had occurred. After the match, Fox showed that Niang waited to be checked in and was allowed back on the field by a referee when it appeared Senegal had possession.

Niang 1Fox

Ultimately, the play was legal, and it boiled down to bad luck for Poland.

“The referee normally waits until the play is a bit safer than that,” one Fox commentator said during the match. “I can’t remember when I’ve seen that.”

The former US men’s player Alexi Lalas called it “mismanagement” by the refs.

The goal made a huge difference in the match, as Poland later scored on a header to bring it to 2-1. It was unable to get the equaliser, however, and Senegal won.

If Poland doesn’t advance out of the group and Senegal does, the confusing play may turn out to be a critical moment in this World Cup.

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