Russia and Poland play out 1-1 draw in Group A

Alan Dzagoev scored his third goal of the European Championship

and Jakub Blaszczykowski equalized in the second half as Russia and

Poland drew 1-1 Tuesday.

The match was marred before kickoff by fighting between

hooligans from both countries, leaving several people injured as

thousands of Russian fans marched to celebrate the Russia Day

national holiday.

Dzagoev darted past defender Lukasz Piszczek in the 37th minute

and sent a glancing header beyond goalkeeper Przemyslaw Tyton after

a curling free kick from Andrei Arshavin.

But Poland was rewarded for its attacking intent in the 57th

when Blaszczykowski cut in from the right and sent a searing

left-foot drive into the far corner of the goal.

”I think we deserve praise because all of us put a lot into

this match,” Blaszczykowski said. ”The tactics we set up before

the match we carried out 100 percent.”

The result left Russia at the top of Group A with four points

but also kept alive Poland’s chances of qualifying for the

quarterfinals.

”We’re still in the tournament, so with this point a win in our

final match puts us into the knockout stage,” Blaszczykowski

said.

At least 15 people were injured in fighting between fans. Polish

police also fired rubber bullets and tear gas at a group of young

Poles who attacked them with glass bottles.

”To be honest, I haven’t seen or heard anything and nor have

the players,” Russia coach Dick Advocaat said. ”I don’t know what

has happened.”

The march to the stadium by thousands of Russian fans was seen

as a provocation by many Poles, who have long had tense relations

with Russia.

The two countries share a difficult history, including decades

of control by Moscow over Poland during the Cold War. Many Poles

felt the Polish authorities should not have allowed the Russians to

march as a group in Warsaw given the historical wounds.

Russia’s football federation pleaded with its fans to behave

after video emerged online of supporters beating stewards at the

Municipal Stadium in Wroclaw during the match against the Czech

Republic, warning that more trouble could cost the team points.

UEFA opened disciplinary proceedings against the Russian

federation following the trouble in Wroclaw.

On the field, Russia’s rampant attack in the opening 4-1 win

over the Czechs was largely muzzled by a well-organized Polish

defense. At the other end, Robert Lewandowski was a constant

threat.

”When we went 1-0 up, I thought we’d get more space like we did

again the Czech Republic, but that didn’t happen,” Advocaat said.

”We lost the ball too fast when we were going forward and they

could counter. We left the field too open.”

Earlier Tuesday, the Czechs played themselves back into Group A

contention by scoring two early goals and hanging on to beat Greece

2-1, meaning all four teams can still qualify.

As it did in its opening 1-1 draw with Greece, Poland started

strongly, but this time had to wait nearly an hour before finally

converting a chance.

Eugen Polanski thought he had put Poland ahead in the 18th

minute after he rounded off a slick passing move by shooting past

Vyacheslav Malafeev, but his effort was ruled offside.

Despite the Polish pressure, Russia remained dangerous at the

other end and gradually began to assert itself as the first half

wore on.

Tyton rushed off his line and dived at Aleksandr Kerzhakov’s

feet to deny the Russia forward a shooting chance in the 10th

minute. Kerzhakov then headed wide after a cross from Arshavin, and

the attacking pair switched roles two minutes later when Arshavin

barely failed to get on the end of a cross from the right.

But Poland again started strongly in the second half as

Lewandowski ran into the penalty area, but Malafeev forced him wide

and blocked his shot with his legs. Lewandowski came close again

when he nearly connected to a cross from Obraniak, but Malafeev

again beat him to the ball.

Poland coach Franciszek Smuda tried to press home the advantage

by replacing defensive midfielder Dariusz Dudka with more

attack-minded Adrian Mierzejewski in the 73rd minute, but the

Russia defense held firm.

Lineups:

Poland: Przemyslaw Tyton, Sebastian Boenisch, Marcin Wasilewski,

Damien Perquis, Lukasz Piszczek, Dariusz Dudka (Adrian

Mierzejewski, 74), Eugen Polanski (Adam Matuszczyk, 85), Ludovic

Obraniak (Pawel Brozek, 90), Rafal Murawski, Jakub Blaszczykowski,

Robert Lewandowski.

Russia: Vyacheslav Malafeev, Alexander Anyukov, Alexei

Berezutski, Sergei Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov, Roman Shirokov, Igor

Denisov, Konstantin Zyryanov, Andrei Arshavin, Alexander Kerzhakov

(Roman Pavlyuchenko, 70), Alan Dzagoev (Marat Izmailov, 80).