WARSAW, Poland. October 8 (AP) –Poland secured its spot in next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia with a 4:2 win over Montenegro on Sunday in European qualifying.
Final score: Poland – Montenegro 4:2
Montenegro scored late goals through substitute Stefan Mugosa and Zarko Tomasevic to level at 2:2 and ensure a nervy finale for Poland, which needed just a point to qualify as Group E winner.
Robert Lewandowski capitalized on a defensive mistake to restore the home side’s lead in the 85th minute with his record 16th goal in European qualifying before Filip Stojkovic’s own-goal ended any further suspense.
Early goals from Krzysztof Maczynski and Kamil Grosicki had put Poland 2:0 ahead by the break.
Poland finished top on 25 points. Denmark came second on 20 points and booked a playoff spot despite being held to a 1-1 draw by 10-man Romania in Copenhagen.
Lewandowski, who already shared the record with Cristiano Ronaldo for 15 goals scored in a qualifying campaign, was unable to add to his tally in the first half, though he displayed great awareness to set up Grosicki for Poland’s second when he had his back turned to goal.
The home side appeared complacent after the break, and Mugosa scored with a spectacular bicycle kick before Tomasevic equalized. Another goal from Montenegro would have put Denmark – then leading 1-0 against Romania – through as group winner at Poland’s expense.
But Lewandowski allayed the home fans’ fears when he raced onto a sloppy back-pass and beat goalkeeper Danijel Petkovic to the ball before shooting into the unguarded net.
Poland – Montenegro 4:2 (2:0)
Goals: Mączyński 6′, Grosicki 16′, Lewandowski 85′, Stojković 87′ (OG) – Mugoša 78′, Tomašević 83′
Yellow carded: Vukčević, Bećiraj, Ivanić
Referee: Daniele Orsato (Italy) Attendance: 57 538
Poland: 1. Wojciech Szczęsny – 20. Łukasz Piszczek (46, 13. Maciej Rybus), 15. Kamil Glik, 2. Michał Pazdan, 3. Bartosz Bereszyński – 16. Jakub Błaszczykowski, 10. Grzegorz Krychowiak, 5. Krzysztof Mączyński (90, 8. Rafał Wolski), 19. Piotr Zieliński, 11. Kamil Grosicki (90, 7. Maciej Makuszewski) – 9. Robert Lewandowski
Montenegro: 1. Danijel Petković – 2. Filip Stojković, 21. Emrah Klimenta, 5. Nemanja Mijušković, 6. Žarko Tomašević – 8. Marko Janković, 19. Aleksandar Šćekić, 4. Nikola Vukčević, 20. Mirko Ivanić (67, 18. Sead Hakšabanović), 3. Vladimir Jovović (77, 9. Stefan Mugoša) – 11. Fatos Bećiraj
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