All square in Warsaw following Poland's comeback against Russia
Poland 1- 1 Russia
Tuesday 12 June 2012
Poland need only to beat Czech Republic on Saturday to reach the quarter finals of Euro 2012 after possibly the goal of the tournament so far from captain Jakub Blaszczykowski earned them a draw against Russia on an emotional night in Warsaw.
The Poles, who had drawn against Greece in their opening match, knew they could not afford to lose against their old rivals if they wanted to stay in the competition and it made for an electric atmosphere at the National Stadium.
Even when they went behind to a goal from Alan Dzagoev, the home fans roared on their team and were rewarded when Borussia Dortmund midfielder Blaszczykowski let rip with a stunning shot to level the scores.
And that leaves the co-hosts with a chance of making the knockout stages if they beat beat the Czecs in Wrocklaw this weekend.
Smuda's men began the game on pure adrenalin, surging forward at every opportunity and seeing an early strike from Eugen Polanski ruled out for offside and a deflected effort from Sebastian Boenisch well saved.
But Russia, who whipped the Czechs 4-1 in their opening match, clearly possessed the greater confidence and went ahead after 37 minutes when Andriy Arshavin's free-kick was glanced home by Dzagoev.
Poland again surged forward after the break, aware that their future in the tournament depended on it. But they couldn't find their way through and former Chelsea star Yuri Zhirkov should have done better with a chance at the other end for Russia.
But then an absolutely stunning goal from Blaszczykowski, with a ripping, rising left-foot shot that flew high into the top corner of Tyton's net after he ran onto an inside pass from Ludovic Obraniak completely changed things.
The goal came in the 57th minute and revitalised Poland and their home crowd in an instant, with Polanski having another effort well saved by Vyacheslav Malafeez soon after.
The result leaves Poland third in Group A on two points, but only one point adrift of second-placed Czech Republic who they face on Saturday. And it leaves Russia needing only a draw against Greece to be certain of making the quarter-finals themselves.
Tyton; Piszczek, Wasilewski, Perquis, Boenisch; Murawski, Polanski, Dudka (Mierzejewski 73); Blaszczykowski, Lewandowski, Obraniak.
Subs not used
: Sandomierski, Wojkowiak, Kaminski, Wawrzyniak, Rybus, Matuszczyk, Wolski, Grosicki, Sobiech, Brozek.
Malafeev; Anyukov, Ignashevich, Berezutski, Zhirkov; Shirokov, Denisov, Zyranov; Dzagoev (Izmailov 79), Kerzhakov (Pavlyuchenko 70), Arshavin.
Subs not used:
Akinfeev, Shunin, Sharonov, Granat, Nababkin, Kombarov, Kokorin, Pogrebnyak,Glushakov, Semshov