Captain's strike keeps Polish hopes alive

Poland 1 Russia 1

Jakub Blaszczykowski's 58th-minute equaliser salvaged a crucial point for co-hosts Poland and scuppered Russia's hopes of becoming the first team to book their place in the Euro 2012 knockout stages.

Alan Dzagoev had fired the Russians in front in the 38th minute as they looked to build on their superb opening win over the Czech Republic by making mathematically certain of reaching the last eight.

But roared on by a predominantly Polish crowd in Warsaw's National Stadium, the Poles boosted their own hopes of progression from Group A when captain Blaszczykowski blazed his leveller past Vyacheslav Malafeev from 20 yards.

It was a richly-deserved point for the Poles, who were frustrated in their opening draw with Greece, but set a stunning pace in the first period and repelled the majority of the impressive Russian advances.

Franciszek Smuda's side almost grabbed a seventh-minute lead when a glancing header from Sebastian Boenisch was superbly saved by Russian keeper Malafeev, who was kept busy throughout the night.

Boenisch rose highest again from the resulting corner but this time could only direct his header into the arms of a relieved Malafeev.

With the Russians struggling to make any kind of impact, Poland continued to press and Robert Lewandowski almost conjured an opener out of nothing when he hooked a volley just over the bar in the 12th minute.

Poland had the ball in the net in the 19th minute when Lewandowski played in Eugen Polanski who drilled a low shot beyond Malafeev but was correctly pulled up for straying offside.

Playing an exciting brand of fluent passing football, the Poles were dominant and Russian defender Sergei Ignashevich had to get in with a fine intervention to deny Lewandowski another chance in the box.

Russia finally started to get to grips with the game as it approached the half-hour mark, with first Andrei Arshavin bursting down the right and crossing for Alexander Kerzhakov, who headed high and wide.

And in the 28th minute the roles were reversed as Kerzhakov turned provider from the right, sending in a low cross which just eluded the stretching Arshavin in front of goal.

Russia's best spell of the match resulted in the opening goal in the 38th minute as Arshavin delivered a superb free-kick from the left flank and Dzagoev flashed home a header past Przemyslaw Tyton.

Poland almost responded immediately, with Blaszczykowski's powerful drive beaten away by Malafeev, but the Russians were beginning to play with the same kind of confident swagger evident in their opening group win.

But Russia ended the half well on top, with Dzagoev and Zhirkov both having close-range chances and the goalscorer unlucky not to earn a penalty in first-half injury-time after being pushed over in the box.

Poland started the second half in the same manner they approached the third, and came close within two minutes of the restart when Polanski's brilliant through-ball found Lewandowski but he was pushed wide and out of play by the advancing Malafeev.

It was all Poland again with Ludovic Obraniak and Damien Perquis both coming close before the Russians threatened with a swift counter in the 50th minute, Kerzhakov's dangerous run eventually intercepted by Dariusz Dudka.

Blaszczykowski sparked jubilation in the 58th minute when he got on the end of a Polish breakaway down the right and cut inside to sent a superb left-foot drive beyond Malafeev and into the corner of the net.

As the game sprang into life, Dzagoev scuffed a shot straight at Tyton after being flicked through by Kerzhakov, and almost immediately at the other end Blaszczykowski made ground down the left before blazing high and wide.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Travel
travelWhy Japan's love hotels are thriving through an economic downturn
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week