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Late penalty gives Austria draw with Poland
Trevor Huggins | June 13, 2008 02:53 IST
An injury-time penalty by Ivica Vastic earned co-hosts Austria a dramatic 1-1 draw with Poland at Euro 2008 [Images] on Thursday.
A confident Vastic showed no sign of nerves as he sent goalkeeper Artur Boruc the wrong way from the spot after Sebastian Proedl had his shirt pulled by Mariusz Lewandowski in the 93rd minute.
The 38-year-old attacking midfielder became the oldest man to score in the finals, surpassing the record held by former Portugal player Nene who was 34 when he netted against Romania in 1984.
Earlier, Brazilian-born striker Roger Guerreiro gave Poland a fortunate first-half lead.
Guerreiro, who was only granted citizenship in April, was clearly offside when he scored his first goal for his adopted country from a 30th-minute scramble at the Ernst Happel Stadium.
Austria and Poland have one point in Group B, with Germany [Images] on three and Croatia top on six.
The co-hosts paid the price for squandering a host of early opportunities that could have comfortably won them the game.
"We had our chances in the first 20, 30 minutes," said Austria coach Josef Hickersberger. "Whether their goal was offside or whether (our goal) was a penalty, I couldn't judge from my position.
"The performance of the team was very good once again. They played with great passion. We saw what we already knew, that Poland have a very strong team."
Having only threatened Croatia in the final 20 minutes on Sunday, Hickersberger told his side to go out guns blazing against the Poles.
The message got through and his team should have been 3-0 up inside 20 minutes after Poland's ramshackle defence was repeatedly split wide open for a player to run through.
Martin Harnik failed twice with Boruc at his mercy and Christoph Leitgeb fared no better in his one-on-one with the keeper as a rampant Austria put Poland to the sword.
Unrecognisable from the side who qualified as group winners ahead of Portugal, Poland had been struggling to string two passes together before Guerreiro put them ahead.
Ebi Smolarek picked out Marek Saganowski with a long pass to the far post but his effort was blocked and Guerreiro steered the ball home in his fourth game for Poland.
Smolarek could have made it 2-0 in the second period, chasing on to a long ball forward before keeper Juergen Macho blocked his shot.
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008