Poland have managed to record their second draw of Euro2012 with a 1-1 result against Russia in an intriguing encounter in Warsaw.
The co-hosts were a far better side than the one who almost squandered a lead to 10-man Greece on Friday and came close to denying the Russians maximum points on their national day.
Despite a slow start, Dick Advocaat’s Russia managed to take the lead in the 37th minute when Alan Dzagoev scored his third goal of the tournament with a glancing header from captain Andrei Arshavin’s peach of a free-kick from the left flank which found its way to the top of the six-yard box.
Poland did not go into their shell after the goal, like they did when Greece levelled the other day, and were able to grab a deserved equalizer 20 minutes after Dzageov’s opener when captain Jakub Blaszczykowski took a neat first touch from Ludovic Obraniak’s pass down the right before slamming an emphatic left-footer from 20 yards which gave Vyacheslav Malafeev absolutely no chance.
Earlier, there were chances for both sides with Russian keeper Malafeev the busier of the two gloveman, starting with a seventh minute save with his legs to deny Sebastian Boenisch’s header from Obraniak’s inswinging rightwing free-kick.
Four minutes later, Robert Lewandowski’s thunderous effort on the turn wasn’t far off before Eugen Polanski had the ball in the back of the net with a nice finish after some beautiful football from Poland but he was flagged offside.
Poland started the second half brightly and could have levelled when Lewandowski was played in by Polanski but he hesitated in trying to round Malafeev who ushered him to the byline and out of play.
Minutes later, the Russian keeper was courageous in coming out to meet Obraniak’s cross from the right with Lewandowski bearing down on him in the aerial clash and Malafeev was again at it in the 69th minute, brilliantly denying Polanski from eight yards which came moments after Poland’s Przemsylaw Tyton was able to thwart Dzagoev after he played a clever one-two with Alexander Kerzhakov.
Franciszek Smuda’s Poland side played well enough to come away with three points but were slightly wasteful as they had nine shots on target and forced six saves from Malafeev but were unable to breach his goal more than once whilst Russia were not as bright as when they beat the Czech Republic 4-1 on Friday.
Group A is now delicately poised after the second round of matches with Russia sitting on top on four points, followed by the Czechs on three following their win over Greece, who trail the group on one point, just behind the Poles on two.
Saturday night sees the remaining fixtures in this group with Poland taking on the Czechs whilst Russia get set to meet Greece.
Euro2012 – Group A
Poland: 1 (Jakub Blaszczykowski 57’)
Russia: 1 (Alan Dzagoev 37’)
National Stadium, Warsaw – 55,920