Niang had been on the sidelines getting treated for an injury and when the ref motioned him to return to the field, he sprinted directly towards the action with Poland's Jan Bednarik completely unaware.
The defeat, combined with Japan's surprise victory over Colombia in the earlier Group H game, means Poland can not afford another slip-up in their remaining two fixtures. The Lions of Teranga held on for a 2-1 victory and opened the World Cup with a surprising victory in Moscow.
Coach Aliou Cisse is proud of his players while claiming the whole of Africa is rooting for Senegal.
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Poland have always made it through the group stages of the World Cup when they get at least a point in their opening match (1974, 1978, 1982, 1986), but when they have lost their opener, they have gone no further (2002, 2006). He was hardly involved against Senegal, however, taking just two shots all game - and one of those was from a direct free-kick attempt. Niang took advantage of the moment, beating a Poland defender and goalie to the ball, then scoring on a wide-open net to push the score to 2-0.
Japan had earlier beaten 10-man Colombia 2-1 in Saransk, and are next up for Senegal in Yekaterinburg on Sunday. "To score a goal at the World Cup has been a dream for me since I was little, so I was extremely happy", said the match-winner.
Six minutes after the half-time, Poland was about to equalise the matter as a great free kick by Robert Lewandowski was saved by Senegal's keeper Khadim N'Diaye, who dived near the left post to send the ball for a corner.
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With Colombia and Japan the other teams in Group H, it's shaping up to be one of the more balanced quartets in the competition.
Lewandowski admits he has a point to prove after a disappointing Euro 2016, when he scored only once as Poland exited at the quarter-finals stage.
Speaking of Niang, he's now had one shot at a World Cup and used it to score his first ever global goal.
Koko the Gorilla Dies at 46
She hung out with Williams in 2001, and when her caretakers informed her of his 2014 death, she seemed to be visibly upset. Patterson explained that 'we have lost a dear friend, Robin Williams .' Koko was quiet and looked very thoughtful.