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Ivica Vastic's last-gasp penalty kept Austria in contention for the UEFA EURO 2008 quarter-finals, salvaging a draw against a Poland side who had looked set to take three points thanks to Roger Guerreiro's first-half goal and some inspired goalkeeping from Artur Boruc.
Boruc made four crucial interventions to frustrate a vibrant Austria before Roger was in the right place to tap in on the half-hour and give Poland the lead. Austria were staring a second successive 1-0 defeat in the face but, three minutes into added time, Marcin Wasilewski pulled Sebastian Prödl's shirt and substitute Vastic became the oldest player to score in a UEFA European Championship, finally beating Boruc from the spot.
These teams now have one point apiece, two fewer than Germany who are Austria's final opponents on Monday, when Group B winners Croatia are the opposition for Poland.
With both sides having lost already, each knew another reverse would almost certainly end their tournament and, buoyed by deafening support, it was Austria who dominated much of the first half. Andreas Ivanschitz set the tone, dragging a hopeful shot wide before testing Boruc with a long-range free-kick. Then came the onslaught.
Martin Harnik raced on to a lofted Ümit Korkmaz pass only for his strike to be turned wide by Boruc and, moments later, the SV Werder Bremen midfielder was again denied after Korkmaz set him up from the byline, having tricked his way past two defenders. Harnik shot from eight metres but Boruc was there again.
But for the Celtic FC goalkeeper, Austria would have been out of sight within the first 15 minutes. It was at that point that Boruc was called upon to make his fourth save of the evening as Christoph Leitgeb was put clean through. Like Harnik before him, Leitgeb opted against rounding the keeper and let fly early. Boruc bravely stopped the shot and was alert enough to kick away the loose ball too.
Poland had hardly threatened but somehow, completely against the run of play, Leo Beenhakker's men went in front. Euzebiusz Smolarek's left-wing cross was controlled by Marek Saganowski at the far post and, though his strike was blocked by Emanuel Pogatetz, the ball rolled across goal for Roger to gleefully turn it into an unguarded net. Even Austria coach Josef Hickersberger cracked a rueful smile of disbelief as the cry of "Polska, Polska" reverberated around the ground.
Beenhakker's half-time team talk must have been impassioned as Poland emerged after the break with greater attacking intent. Smolarek spurned the opportunity to double the advantage after cutting in from the left and forcing a stop from Jürgen Macho with an angled drive, while Dariusz Dudka was afforded the time to bring down Roger's cross and make Macho parry at his near post.
Poland were now in the ascendancy and, midway through the half, Macho had to be at his best to tip Jacek Krzynówek's ferocious free-kick over the bar. Austria strove manfully to find an equaliser, with Hickersberger throwing on Roman Kienast, Vastic and Jürgen Säumel as the clock ticked down. Säumel and Prödl both sent efforts too high and it seemed there would be no beating Boruc – until Prödl won the penalty and the 38-year-old Vastic did the rest.
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