Lewandowski scores four as Poland thumps Gilbraltar in Euro qualifier

Lewandowski scored four goals against Gibraltar.


Gibraltar’s first-ever senior competitive game ended in a 7-0 thumping by Poland in their opening Euro 2016 Group D qualifying match on Sunday night.

Robert Lewandowski scored four, Kamil Grosicki fired two and Lukas Szukala also got onto the scoresheet in a predictably one-sided match at Estadio Do Algarve.

Gibraltar, UEFA’s newest member and a country with a population of around 30,000, were accepted by the European governing body in May 2013 following a 14-year battle.

Aiden McGeady fired the Republic of Ireland to a priceless 2-1 victory in Georgia in the same group as he chose the perfect moment to produce his best form in manager Martin O’Neill’s first competitive game.

The Everton winger had given the Republic a 24th-minute lead with the fourth goal of his senior international career on his 70th appearance, but the advantage was short-lived as Tornike Okriashvili leveled with 14 minutes with a superb strike.

But just as it looked as though O’Neill would have to settled for a point, McGeady curled home a 90th-minute winner to give his side the start to the campaign they craved.

In the other game in that Group, two goals from Thomas Muller gave World Champions Germany a less-than-convincing 2-1 win over Scotland.

Muller headed the opener for the home side after 18 minutes of a one-sided first half in which the visitors found themselves constantly on the back foot.

It was a much-improved Scotland side, however, who emerged for the second half and Ikechi Anya leveled in the 66th minute following a swift break.

Muller swiftly restored the home side’s lead after a mix-up in the Scotland penalty area but Gordon Strachan’s men finished strongly and on another night might just have sneaked a point, although Charlie Mulgrew was sent off in injury time for a second bookable offence.

Irish joy was not just restricted to the Republic and Northern Ireland could celebrate too as Kyle Lafferty and Niall McGinn got the goals as they marked the ninth anniversary of their famous victory over England by grabbing a dramatic 2-1 win in their Group F opener in Hungary.

September 7 will always be a special day for Northern Ireland and ever more so after Lafferty bundled home the scrappiest, most ecstatic finish of his career to give his side a first away success in four long years.

Hungary had looked set to take the points on their first outing at the new Groupama Arena when former Watford striker Tamas Priskin headed home a 74th-minute corner but two goals in the last 10 minutes for the visitors ripped up the script.

Also in that group, Ciprian Marica scored a 10th-minute penalty and was then sent off as Romania won 1-0 in Greece.

Denmark were spared another home embarrassment at the hands of Armenia as goals from Pierre Emile Hojbjerg and Thomas Kahlenberg secured the Scandinavians a come-from-behind 2-1 win in Group I.

Playing a nation who had pulled off a famous 4-0 victory over them at Parken during World Cup qualifying in 2013, the Danes looked set to be humbled by the Armenians in Copenhagen once again when Borussia Dortmund midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s strike put the away side 1-0 up in the 50th minute.

However, Hojbjerg leveled 15 minutes later with a long-range effort, and with 10 minutes of the contest to go substitute Kahlenberg headed home the winner.

There was a shock in that group, though, as minnows Albania beat a Portugal side without Cristiano Ronaldo 1-0.

Portugal have never been the strongest qualifiers but this was a real shock, with Bekim Balaj scoring the goal.

In Group F, Rosenborg striker Riku Riski rescued Finland from an embarrassing situation against the Faroe Islands.

Finland trailed to a Christian Holst goal and were in danger of becoming the Faroes’ first major scalp since June 2011.

But Riski scored a brace to spin the tie around and then Roman Eremenko added a late third for good measure in a 3-1 win.