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Poland 1-1 N Ireland

By Richard Petrie

David Healy and Kyle Lafferty

Highlights - Poland 1-1 Northern Ireland (UK only)

Northern Ireland kept their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup alive with a 1-1 draw against Poland in Chorzow.

Kyle Lafferty shot inches wide but then scored the opener in the 37th minute when he slid the ball between Artur Boruc's legs from David Healy's pass.

Jonny Evans headed a Ludovic Obraniak effort off the line before half-time.

Martin Paterson fired wide before the Poles levelled when Mariusz Lewandowski ghosted in front of two defenders to slot the ball home in the 79th minute.

After a cagey opening, Lafferty almost broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when he picked up the ball on the halfway line, shrugged off the challenges of two defenders and fired a low right-foot shot inches wide of Boruc's right-hand post.

Captain Aaron Hughes is disappointed but satisfied

Healy headed straight into the arms of the Polish goalkeeper soon after.

Pawel Brozek was through on goal on the half hour but Gareth McAuley did well to put off the Polish forward as he was about to shoot.

Four minutes later, Steven Davis crossed from the left, Healy knocked the ball down and Lafferty just failed to get enough contact on the ball.

Boruc then had to race out of his goal to clear the ball with his feet as Lafferty bore down on goal.

Lafferty put Northern Ireland in front in the 37th minute, slotting the ball between Boruc's legs after Healy's pass split the Polish defence.

Nigel Worthington's side defended stubbornly in the first half and their effort was epitomised by McAuley's block from Roger Guerreiro's shot.

Evans then headed the ball off the line from an Obraniak left-foot shot as the Poles piled on the pressure before the break.

Poland continued to dominate possession after half-time and Brozek blasted over the bar when well placed.

Lafferty limped off with an injury, with Paterson coming on, and soon after his introduction, the Burnley striker almost scored his side's second.

Davis sent Paterson racing clear with a sliderule pass but the forward skewed his shot just wide of the post.

Michal Zewlakow drilled the ball wide and then Guerreiro fired the ball straight at Taylor as the home side pushed for an equaliser.

Poland levelled in the 79th minute when Lewandowski ghosted in between Northern Ireland defenders Evans and Aaron Hughes to slot the ball home to complete a fine attacking move.

The Poles almost took the lead three minutes later but Maik Taylor got across his goal well to produce a superb diving save to deny Guerreiro.

Lewandowski almost grabbed his second when he headed just wide from a teasing cross by the impressive Guerreiro.

Poland: Boruc, Golanski, Dudka, Roger, Murawski, Krzynowek, Zewlakow, Obraniak, Blaszczykowski, Mariusz Lewandowski, Brozek.
Subs: Zaluska, Bosacki, Gancarczyk, Smolarek, Tralka, Lobodzinski, Robert Lewandowski.

Northern Ireland: Taylor, McAuley, Craigan, Hughes, Evans, Johnson, Clingan, McCann, Davis, Lafferty, Healy.
Subs: Tuffey, McGivern, Coates, McGinn, Paterson, Ward.

Referee: Manuel Enrique Mejuto Gonzalez (Spain)

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see also
Hughes disappointed by equaliser
05 Sep 09 |  Internationals
International football as it happened
05 Sep 09 |  Football
Ward returns to N Ireland squad
24 Aug 09 |  Internationals
NI boss closes door on Gillespie
23 Aug 09 |  Irish
Worthington wants a sharp Healy
13 Aug 09 |  Internationals
N Ireland qualifiers live on BBC
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
NI winger impresses Worthington
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
N Ireland 1-1 Israel
12 Aug 09 |  Internationals
Coates remains in N Ireland squad
03 Aug 09 |  Internationals
N Ireland 1-0 Slovenia
01 Apr 09 |  Internationals
Northern Ireland 3-2 Poland
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals

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ESPN Soccernet Report: Poland vs Northern Ireland - World Cup Qualifying - UEFA - 41 hrs ago
Irish Independent Lewandowski's late strike dents Northern progress - 46 hrs ago
Taiwan News Online Poland, Northern Ireland draw 1-1 in WC qualifier - 49 hrs ago
SuperSport Poland salvage draw against N Ireland - 57 hrs ago
The Sun Poland 1 Northern Ireland 1 - 57 hrs ago