Kazakhstan hold Poland 2-2 in World Cup qualifier

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Astana, Sep 5 (IANS) Kazakhstan rallied from a two-goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw against Poland in their first match of qualifying for the 2018 football World Cup in Russia.

The Poles, led by Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski, were expected to earn three points at the Astana Stadium and seemed well on track to achieving that result at halftime here on Sunday, reports Efe.

Bartosz Kapustka booted home a cross from close range just nine minutes into the contest and then Lewandowski doubled the visitors’ lead when he converted a penalty just 10 minutes before intermission.

Kazakhstan, which did not make much of an impression in qualifying for Euro 2016, finishing fifth in its group of six teams and managing just one win in its final game against Latvia, seemed headed for a loss in its opening Group E game of World Cup qualifying.

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But Sergei Khizhnichenko scored one goal in the 51st minute when he controlled a cross with his chest and then knocked the ball into the back of the net past Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

Then seven minutes later, Khizhnichenko struck again to tie the contest when he finished off a cross, sneaking in between the goalkeeper and a defender.

Poland squandered one chance later when Lewandowski hit the post. Arkadiusz Milik also hit two shots off the woodwork for Poland in the first half.

Denmark leads Group E with three points after a 1-0 win over Armenia on Sunday in Copenhagen, while Poland and Kazakhstan are tied for second place with one point apiece.

The other two teams in the group are Romania and Montenegro.

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