The Malta Independent 15 July 2024, Monday
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Energised Austria win and put Lewandowski's Poland at risk of elimination from Euro 2024

Associated Press Friday, 21 June 2024, 22:00 Last update: about 23 days ago

Austria picked up a crucial win at the European Championship by defeating Poland 3-1 in its second group match and leaving the Poles on the brink of elimination on Friday.

Gernot Trauner, Christoph Baumgartner and Marko Arnautovic scored for Austria while Krzysztof Piatek had Poland's first-half equalizer.

To avoid a group stage exit, Poland needed the Netherlands to beat France in a later Group D match on Friday.

Robert Lewandowski, who missed Poland's first match against the Netherlands due to an injury, came on in the second half but failed to make an impact, and was booked after just five minutes on the pitch.

Austria came out blazing and took the lead within 10 minutes when Trauner headed in a cross from Philipp Mwene.

The Poles clawed their way back and leveled just before the half-hour mark, with Piatek slotting in a rebound from close range.

Polish fans roared as their record goal-scorer Lewandowski rose from the bench 15 minutes into the second half to make his Euro 2024 debut, replacing Adam Buksa in the attack.

However, the captain had a disappointing evening in Berlin. He received a yellow card almost immediately after a tough challenge on Philipp Lienhart and saw Austria regain the lead two minutes later when Baumgartner picked up an excellent pass from Alexander Prass to make it 2-1.

This time Poland didn't have the energy to reply.

Arnautovic sealed the win for Austria from the penalty spot after Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny brought down Marcel Sabitzer in the penalty area in the 77th.

Baumgartner said the team felt the pressure after the opening loss against France, which snapped a seven-game unbeaten streak for Austria.

“To be honest there was a lot of pressure on us,” Baumgartner said. “We are really relieved. ”

Lewandowski damaged a thigh muscle in a pre-tournament warmup and sat out Poland’s first match at the Euros. He wasn't in the starting lineup against Austria but coach Michal Probierz said Lewandowski was “fully fit" and he sent him on in an attempt to gain momentum with the score 1-1.

“We wanted to break through the Austrian defense in the second half. It's a pity that we didn't score a winner first," Probierz said.

Austria, after a loss and a win, next faces the Netherlands on Tuesday.

France awaits two-loss Poland in the final round of the group stage.

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