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Polish Blast Blows Group A Wide Open

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A fiercely-struck equalizer from Jakub Blaszczykowski gave Poland their reward for a battling display in a 1-1 draw with Russia that showcased flowing, end-to-end football.

A fiercely-struck equalizer from Jakub Blaszczykowski gave Poland their reward for a battling display in a 1-1 draw with Russia that showcased flowing, end-to-end football.

Defeat would have the left the Euro 2012 co-hosts needing a win against the Czechs and some luck on Sunday to reach the quarterfinals, but a draw leaves Group A finely poised ahead of the final round of games.

Russia go into their match with Greece as the group leaders on four points, followed by the Czechs on three, Poland on two and Greece with a solitary point.

The match was played in a tense atmosphere after clashes before the game involving Russian and Polish fans saw at least 100 people arrested, Warsaw police said.

Alan Dzagoev, Russia’s two-goal hero in their opening win over the Czechs, darted forward to knock in Andrei Arshavin’s corner and put Russia ahead on 37 minutes.

The diminutive midfielder from North Ossetia lost his marker and appeared to deflect the ball in at the far post with his shoulder.

Poland striker Robert Blaszczykowski evened the scores on 57 minutes, cutting inside from the right as the Russian defense backed off before unleashing a powerful, curling left-foot effort that left the outstreched Vyacheslav Malafeev with no chance.

The final Group A games on Sunday see Russia face Greece, while Poland take on the Czechs, with the winner of that game certain to qualify.

 

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