Poland 2-1 Wales: Karol Swiderski completes Nations League comeback against Rob Page’s much-changed visitors

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 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Poland came from behind to snatch a late winner as they beat a much-changed Wales side 2-1 to kick off their Nations League campaign.

Just four days before their World Cup play-off final, Jonny Williams’ second international goal gave the visitors a a 52nd-minute lead in Wroclaw.

But Poland substitutes Jakub Kaminski and Karol Swiderski struck in the final 18 minutes to turn the game on its head and inflict a first defeat on Wales since their Euro 2020 loss to Denmark last summer.

Captain Gareth Bale was absent from Wales’ matchday squad after arriving from Real Madrid’s Champions League celebrations, with boss Robert Page shuffling his pack ahead of Sunday’s decider in Cardiff. Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies and Joe Allen were also rested.

This was Wales’ first fixture in the top tier of the Nations League following their promotion two years ago, but Page’s team selection was understandable given the magnitude of Sunday’s game.

Poland had secured their own World Cup qualification in March, and skipper Robert Lewandowski was the centre of attention following his promise to quit Bayern Munich this summer.

Wales fielded an unfamiliar back-three of Chris Gunter, Chris Mepham and Rhys Norrington-Davies and they should have fallen behind in the first minute.

But the unmarked Piotr Zielinski sent his header wide of the near post and Mepham soon advanced quickly to block Lewandowski’s powerful shot.

Dylan Levitt saw an early effort held at the second attempt by Kamil Grabara, and Wales carried a genuine counter-attacking threat through Daniel James and Kieffer Moore.

James failed to take Wales’ best opening after being found superbly by Joe Morrell, the Leeds forward sliding his shot wide of Grabara’s near post.

Poland were also guilty of wastefulness in front of goal as Adam Buksa failed to turn in Tymoteusz Puchacz’s inviting cross.

Wales withdrew James and Moore at the interval with Mark Harris and Rabbi Matondo coming on and Wayne Hennessey replacing Ward.

The move paid off as Wales took a 52nd-minute lead when Williams picked up possession on the edge of the Poland area and arrowed a low shot past Grabara.

The rhythm of the game was interrupted by a raft of substitutions and Poland struggled to respond to falling behind.

But Kaminski was afforded time and space in the Wales penalty area to beat Hennessey from 12 yards and it got better for Poland five minutes from time after some pinball in the Wales box.

Lewandowski’s shot was diverted into the path of Swiderski, and the substitute bundled the ball home from close range.

Additional reporting by PA Sport.

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