CHORZOW, Poland Oct 11 (Reuters) - Two first half goals from striker Ebi Smolarek gave Poland a shock 2-1 win over Group A favourites Portugal in their Euro 2008 qualifier on Wednesday.
The win was Poland's first against Portugal since Smolarek's
father Wlodzimierz scored the only goal in a group stage clash
at the 1986 World Cup finals in Mexico, and revenge for a 4-0
drubbing in the 2002 finals in Korea.
Smolarek opened the scoring in the 10th minute, putting the
ball high into the net from a tight angle after Portuguese
keeper Ricardo failed to hold a Mariusz Lewandowski drive.
He added a second seven minutes later, driving high past
Ricardo from 15 metres after striker Grzegorz Rasiak had taken
advantage of a defensive mix-up deep in the Portuguese half.
Nuno Gomes gave the Portuguese a consolation strike a minute
into injury time at the end of the second half.
A revitalised Polish side, under fire after taking just one
point from home games against Serbia and Finland, defended
tightly from the start, breaking up Portugal's passing game and
breaking forward at speed at every opportunity.
Before the interval striker Maciej Zurawski drove against
the post from 18 metres with Ricardo stranded.
More free-flowing attacking in the second half saw winger
Jakub Blaszczykowski, Lewandowski and Smolarek all go close.
Portugal had more of the possession, but the Polish defence
dealt easily with the crosses delivered by Simao and winger
Cristiano Ronaldo and the visitors looked bereft of ideas for
most of the second half.
The win gives the Poles seven points from four games and
second place in Group A behind Serbia and Finland. Portugal have
four points from three games.