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Serbia dream dies with Poland draw

Published: Wednesday 21 November 2007, 23.57CET
Serbia 2-2 Poland
The home side's hopes of reaching the final tournament were ended despite a fine fightback against the Group A winners in Belgrade.
Published: Wednesday 21 November 2007, 23.57CET

Serbia dream dies with Poland draw

Serbia 2-2 Poland
The home side's hopes of reaching the final tournament were ended despite a fine fightback against the Group A winners in Belgrade.

Serbia's slim UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying hopes evaporated despite a spirited second-half comeback in Belgrade, where they recovered a two-goal deficit to draw with Group A winners Poland.

Point not enough
The visitors – who had booked their finals ticket with a 2-0 weekend defeat of Belgium – were poised to end their campaign on another high after Rafał Murawski and Radoslaw Matusiak had secured a two-goal lead by the 47th minute. Serbia rallied strongly, however, with two strikes in three minutes midway through the second period, Nikola Žigić and Danko Lazović finding the net, yet were unable to find a winner. Portugal's goalless draw with Finland ensured they, not Javier Clemente's side, qualified for next summer's tournament.

Pole position
Serbia began positively with Miloš Krasić and Mladen Krstajić testing Poland keeper Łukasz Fabiański, although it was the away team who made the breakthrough in the 28th minute. Mariusz Lewandowski lifted a pass over the Serbia defence, enabling Murawski to chip keeper Vlada Avramov. A second goal arrived two minutes into the second half, as substitute Matusiak found space inside the area and produced a neat finish to deceive Avramov.

Rousing revival
Just when it seemed Poland were on course for a comfortable success, Serbia halved the deficit out of nothing in the 69th minute. Žigić rose to nod Duško Tošić's right-wing cross beyond Fabiański. Tošić was also the creator two minutes later as the hosts drew level, delivering an inswinging corner that Lazović directed into the corner of the net. Although Avramov then made a fine stop from Lewandowski's free-kick, Žigić might have won it nine minutes from time but could only head straight at Fabiański. With that, Serbia's faint hopes were gone.

Last updated: 22/11/07 1.34CET

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