WC Qual - UEFA
September 7, 2012
Montenegro 2-2 Poland
Honours were even in Podgorica tonight as Montenegro and Poland started their World Cup qualifying campaigns with a bad-tempered draw.
Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland had to come from behind to earn a credible point after squandering the early lead given to them by Jakub Blaszczykowski`s penalty.
Nikola Drincic and Mirko Vucinic were responsible for the turnaround but, after half-time substitute Adrian Mierzejewski levelled, ill-discipline took over.
Serbia`s Savo Pavicevic and Poland`s Ludovic Obraniak were red carded for separate, nasty incidents inside a three-minute spell, and in the end, both sides were happy when the whistle came.
Having impressed in flashes during the Euros it was important for Poland to show they could perform consistently and qualify for a tournament under their own steam and they started as if they knew it.
Just five minutes had gone when Robert Lewandowski was brought down by Milan Jovanovic, with Blaszczykowski doing the rest.
Drincic responded for Montenegro with an effort that went wide, but Poland remained on the offensive, with Kamil Grosicki drawing a save out of Mladen Bozovic.
Lewandowski, surprisingly still playing his football in Germany after a summer which many expected would see him lured away, then headed over and within minutes Montenegro were level.
Vucinic`s pass played in Drincic and he did the rest, slotting home from the edge of the box with a first-time finish.
Blaszczykowski took aim from distance to try and respond for Poland, while Lewandowski attempted a lob which almost came off.
They were made to pay for their generosity, though, as Montenegro took the lead in first-half injury time, with Vucinic converting Drincic`s cross from six yards.
Lewandowski could have squared things up after the restart but saw his effort hacked away by Stefan Savic but, with 53 minutes gone, Mierzejewski showed him how it was done when he nodded in Obraniak`s left-wing cross.
With the game in the balance the last thing Montenegro needed was Pavicevic to go into meltdown, but he did with 68 minutes gone, bringing down Eugen Polanski for one yellow card and then punching the Mainz player to earn an upgrade to a red.
But the numbers were soon evened out as Obraniak was dismissed following an off-the-ball clash which left Vucinic on the floor.
Football was then able to take over again, with Lewandowski hitting wide, but that was it as far as chances went.