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Football
Poland fightback against Russia in Euros
Wonderstrike from Blaszczykowski gives co-hosts Poland good chance of making next round of Euros after draw with Russia.
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2012 21:53
Jakub Blaszczykowski celebrates with teammate Lukasz Piszczek (up) after scoring stunning equaliser [EPA]


Alan Dzagoev scored his third goal of the European Championship and Jakub Blaszczykowski equalised in the second half as Russia and Poland drew 1-1 on Tuesday.

The match was marred before kickoff by fighting between hooligans from both countries, leaving several people injured as thousands of Russian fans marched to celebrate the Russia Day national holiday. The violence continued after the match as fans left the stadium.

But on the pitch, Russia got off to a strong start when Dzagoev darted past defender Lukasz Piszczek in the 37th minute and sent a glancing header beyond goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton after a curling free kick from Andrei Arshavin.

However, the Poles were rewarded for their attacking intent in the 57th when Blaszczykowski cut in from the right and sent a searing left-foot drive into the far corner of the goal.

"I think we deserve praise because all of us put a lot into this match,'' Blaszczykowski said.

"The tactics we set up before the match we carried out 100 percent.''

All to play for 

The result left Russia at the top of Group A with four points but also kept alive Poland's chances of qualifying for the quarterfinals.

"We're still in the tournament, so with this point a win in our final match puts us into the knockout stage,'' Blaszczykowski said.

At least 15 people were injured in fighting between fans. Polish police also fired rubber bullets and tear gas at a group of young Poles who attacked them with glass bottles.

"To be honest, I haven't seen or heard anything and nor have the players,'' Russia coach Dick Advocaat said.

"I don't know what has happened.''

"When we went 1-0 up, I thought we'd get more space like we did again the Czech Republic, but that didn't happen"

Russia coach Dick Advocaat

The march to the stadium by thousands of Russian fans was seen as a provocation by many Poles, who have long had tense relations with Russia.

The two countries share a difficult history, including decades of control by Moscow over Poland during the Cold War. Many Poles felt the Polish authorities should not have allowed the Russians to march as a group in Warsaw given the historical wounds.

Russia's football federation pleaded with its fans to behave after video emerged online of supporters beating stewards at the Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw during the match against the Czech Republic, warning that more trouble could cost the team points.

UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against the Russian federation following the trouble in Wroclaw.

On the field, Russia's rampant attack in the opening 4-1 win over the Czechs was largely muzzled by a well-organised Polish defence. At the other end, Robert Lewandowski was a constant threat.

"When we went 1-0 up, I thought we'd get more space like we did again the Czech Republic, but that didn't happen,'' Advocaat said.

"We lost the ball too fast when we were going forward and they could counter. We left the field too open.''

Earlier on Tuesday, the Czechs played themselves back into Group A contention by scoring two early goals and hanging on to beat Greece 2-1, meaning all four teams can still qualify.

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Source:
Agencies
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