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European Championship

  • June 12, 2012
  • • 2:45 PM
  • • Stadion Narodowy, Warszawa
  • Referee: W. Stark
  • • Attendance: 55920

Poland 1-1 Russia: Stunning Blaszczykowski equalizer keeps hosts alive in Group A

The co-hosts keep alive their hopes of qualifying out of the group after the Dortmund man cancelled out Dzagoev first-half effort with a beautiful strike

Jakub Blaszczykowski's spectacular strike helped Poland secure a 1-1 draw against Russia in Group A, which leaves all four teams with a chance of qualifying for the quarterfinals.

Poland had the better chances of the two side's in the first half but found itself 1-0 down at the break. Alan Dzagoev netted his third goal of the tournament when he diverted Andrey Arshavin's precise free kick beyond Przemyslaw Tyton.

The goal gave the Russian's confidence but were dragged back by Blaszczykowski's magic after a lethal counterattack from the Poles sent the home fans into ecstasy.

In a game that suffered prior to kick off for being politically engulfed, and likely to fuel unrest in Warsaw, Poland and Russia played testament to the tournament as both sides looked to make a statement.

Russia, whose fans had been celebrating Russia Day culminating in a march to the stadium showed greater composure early on with Andrey Arshavin continuing his fine form. Urged on by their home support, however, Poland managed to get a foothold in the game and fashioned the first chance.

Ludovic Obraniak swung in an inviting free- kick into the area which Sebastian Boenisch was on the end of, but the Bremen man was denied by Vyacheslav Malafeev whose sprawling legs kept the score level.

Poland continued to show greater threat in the final third and Robert Lewandowski looked to add to his Euro 2012 tally with the opening strike. The Dortmund striker, full of confidence, took the ball down before unleashing a volley toward goal that was narrowly off-target.

In response Dick Advocaat's side looked to thread the ball through a static Polish defence and Aleksandr Kerzhakov thought he had won a penalty when Damien Perquis slid in from behind but the defender had expertly clipped the ball away from the Zenit striker.

The noise levels increased ten-fold when Eugen Polanski finished a beautiful flowing move from the co-hosts only for his celebrations to be cut short when he noticed that he had correctly been judged offside.

Franciszek Smuda's side continued to create chances as Marcin Wasilewski drove in a low cross only for the ball to squirm away from both Lewandowski and Blaszczykowski with the goal beckoning.

Replicating the driven cross from Wasilweski, Kerzhakov delivered the same for Russia only to see the ball flash across the face of the goal with no decisive touch.

With the visitors enjoying their best spell of the game they took the lead when Dzagoev flicked home his third goal of the tournament. Arshavin's perfectly flighted free kick found the youngster unmarked to easily provide the touch that sent the Russia fans into pandemonium.

Poland looked to find an equalizer in the remaining eight minutes of the half and Malafeev had to be alert to palm away when Blaszczykowski fired toward goal.

And the home side started the second half in attacking mode as Polanski looked to the slide the ball through to Lewandowski but the pass was too heavy and the striker had to settle for a corner kick.

Poland continued to probe and launched a superb counter attack which ended when Obraniak's delicious cross was punched clear by Malafeev with Lewandowski's boot close by.

Russia suddenly found itself attacking desire as Arshavin rode a challenge to burst forward before wasting a glorious opportunity misplacing his pass with Russia a man up on the attack.

And seconds later Poland launched their own counter as Lukasz Piszczek looked to link up with his club teammate. The fullback found Blaszczykowski with a wonderful pass, and the Dortmund man's first-touch was simply sublime as he took into his path with ease before unleashing a vicious left-footed shot which caused Warsaw to erupt as it flashed past Malafeev to bring Poland level.

The stadium atmosphere intensified as the home side began to sense a chance and Malafeev was called upon yet again for the Russians as Poland searched for a second. The 'keeper stood tall at his near post to deny Polanski's low shot that had been hit with some conviction albeit from a tight angle.

As the value of a winner increased as each minute passed neither side was able to find a telling moment in the final exchanges as both goalkeepers were left relatively untroubled in the closing stages.

The result leaves Russia at the summit of Group A with four points, whilst the co-hosts lye third with two after Czech Republic defeated Greece. Poland will need to win its final game to progress, something it has never in a major tournament, whilst Russia needs a point against Greece to secure a quarterfinal birth.

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