Late penalty gives Austria draw

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> An injury-time penalty by Ivica Vastic earned co-hosts Austria a dramatic 1-1 draw with Poland at Euro 2008 on Thursday.

Updated: June 16, 2008 17:13 IST
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Vienna, Austria:

Poland coach Leo Beenhakker thought the award of a disputed injury-time penalty cost his team any chance of a place in the European Championship quarterfinals, and the Dutchman wasn't about to go quietly into the Vienna night without saying plenty about it.

Ivica Vastic earned tournament co-host Austria a 1-1 draw when he scored the penalty, but Beenhakker was furious that it had even been awarded for Mariusz Lewandowski's pull on the shirt of Sebastian Proedl.

"There is the usual wrestling we see in the last five years in football and, I don't know why, but maybe at that moment the referee wants to show he is a big boy and he can do it," the 65-year-old Beenhakker said. "With referees I have never had any problem and have never been suspended, but this is something I really, really cannot understand."

Beenhakker's trouble-free run with officials could be at an end after making such comments, but the veteran coach could be forgiven for his huge disappointment after having watched his team surrender a lead that it held since Brazilian-born playmaker Roger Guerreiro scored in the 30th minute.

Austria coach Josef Hickersberger sympathized with his rival, anyway.

"Leo Beenhakkker is not my counterpart, he is my colleague and we have a good rapport - we get on very well," said Hickersberger, whose team is tied with Poland on one point in Group B. "Of course we are opponents in the game and I fully understand his argument. I would have felt the same."

The result means Croatia has clinched first place in Group B after its 2-1 win over Germany. The other three teams in the group all have a chance to join the Croats in the knockout round in their final games on Monday, but Beenhakker already seemed to be conceding defeat with a tough match against Croatia to come.

"With a win, yes, we would have the same points as Germany," Beenhakker said. "But now we don't have it in our own hands any more and the conclusion is that we are out of the tournament."

Austria, which meets Germany in its final match, had been utterly dominant early, outshooting the Poles 7-1 and forcing three corners to a single kick by Poland before Roger scored at Ernst Happel Stadium.

Austria dominated the opening exchanges and could have been ahead 4-0 before Poland mounted its first serious attack. Andreas Ivanschitz shot wide with only Artur Boruc to beat before the goalkeeper made three good saves.

Boruc's first stop came from Martin Harnik's low shot toward the far corner after the Austria player had robbed the dawdling Mariusz Jop of possession, the next at close range from Harnik following a run and cross down the left by Umit Korkmaz, and the third from Christoph Leitgeb, who had beat the offside trap before shooting low.

But a counterattack carried the ball up the field and Euzebiusz Smolarek sent a long cross-field pass to Marek Saganowski. The forward turned inside and put a pass across goal that beat goalkeeper Juergen Macho and defender Martin Stranzl, giving Roger a simple chance to tap in for his first international goal since he received Polish citizenship in April.

The goal temporarily silenced the previously deafening Austrian fans in a sold-out crowd of 51,428 and lifted Poland's players, who suddenly seemed the equal of their counterparts.

After Macho had made a double save from Jacek Bak and Dudka, Hickersberger made an attacking double substitution in the 64th - bringing on Vastic and striker Roman Kienast for Ivanschitz and Roland Linz.

It was Vastic, a second-half substitute and the oldest player in the tournament at 38, who stepped up to send his shot to the goalkeeper's right.

"It was clear that Ivica would assume that responsibility because he is the most experienced on the team," Austria coach Josef Hickersberger said. "I was 99.9 percent sure he would score."


Austria: Juergen Macho, Martin Stranzl, Sebastian Proedl, Emanuel Pogatetz, Gyorgy Garics, Christoph Leitgeb, Umit Korkmaz, Andreas Ivanschitz (Ivica Vastic, 64), Rene Aufhauser (Juergen Saeumel, 74), Roland Linz (Roman Kienast, 64), Martin Harnik.

Poland: Artur Boruc, Michal Zewlakow, Marcin Wasilewski, Mariusz Lewandowski, Mariusz Jop (Pawel Golanski, 46), Dariusz Dudka, Jacek Bak, Jacek Krzynowek, Roger Guerreiro (Rafal Murawski, 85), Euzebiusz Smolarek, Marek Saganowski (Wojciech Lobodzinski, 83).

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