Zurawski keeps Poles on pole

Poland 3 Austria 2
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The Independent Football

Poland looked to be coasting when 2-0 up at half-time with goals by the Borussia Dortmund winger Euzebiusz Smolarek and Southampton's Kamil Kosowski but Austria brought on Roland Linz and he made the difference. He twice pegged back the Poles and twice came close to completing a hat-trick.

Victory against Wales in Warsaw on Wednesday could guarantee that coach Pawel Janas's side qualify for next year's finals in Germany as one of the best runners-up, but after last night's dramas he was not counting on anything. He blamed the second-half wobble on the hype surrounding his team's chances of reaching the finals.

The first half was different with Smolarek reacting quickly when a free-kick bounced loose inside the penalty area after 13 minutes. Kosowski struck 10 minutes later after being set up by good work from Zurawski and the new Tottenham Hotspur signing Grzegorz Rasiak.

But Linz pounced on a defensive mix-up to pull a goal after 61 minutes, and Austria almost equalised seven minutes later. Instead Poland counter-attacked and Zurawski was brought down by Austria's goalkeeper Andreas Schranz. Zurawski hit the spot-kick at Schranz but collected the rebound to score.

Linz got a second for the Austrians after 81 minutes and went on to hit the crossbar in stoppage time. Poland breathed a sigh of relief and after the final whistle Miroslaw Szymkowiak, the Poland playmaker, said: "We should be glad that luck has been with us recently."

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