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Poland stun Portugal; Serbia go top

11 October 2006 22:40

CHORZOW, Oct 11 (SW) - Despite rumors of turmoil within the Poland national team, they rallied together to defeat Portugal on Wednesday while Serbia stayed top of Euro 2008 qualifying Group A. Belgium and Finland were also victorious on the day.

Poland - Portugal 2-1

It was the Ebi Smolarek show early on that sparked Poland into the lead, the Borussia Dortmund playmaker fired past Ricardo from the edge of the penalty in the ninth minutes.

It took Smolarek just a further nine minutes to double the lead, turning in a Grzegorz Rasiak centering pass to double the advantage and firmly put Portugal on the backfoot.

Despite enjoying over 60% of possession throughout the match, the Iberian side only put one shot on target for 90 minutes until they pulled back a consolation goal at the death through Nuno Gomes.

Serbia - Armenia 3-0

Serbia though stayed unbeaten and atop of the group with a comfortable win over Armenia in Belgrade.

The Armenians put up a spirited fight to stay goalless in the first half, but Armenia goalkeeper Gevorg Kasparov fouled Nikola Zigic in the area on 54 minutes, allowing Dejan Stankovic to slot home a penalty for the lead.

Eight minutes later, Danko Lazovic extended the lead for Javier Clemente's side with a well-placed header, and big striker Zigic added the third in injury time to keep Serbia rolling.

Belgium - Azerbaijan 3-0

In desperate need of three points at home, Belgium started very brightly as Timmy Simons struck home from the penalty spot in the 24th minute Kevin Vanderbergh was felled in the area by visiting goalkeeper Farkhad Veliyev.

They held that 1-0 lead until the 47th minute when Vandenbergh himself turned in a Karel Geraerts cross to extend the lead, and Moussa Dembélé struck eight minutes from time to finish off the visitors, his first goal for Belgium.

It did end, however, under sour circumstances when Dembélé was sent off in the 87th minute for retaliating on Aslan Kerimov after the Azeri player committed a harsh tackle on him, but the referee issued only a caution to Kerimov.

Kazakhstan - Finland 0-2

Veteran captain Jari Litmanen fired the Finns into the lead in the 27th minute at the Tcentralny Stadium in Almaty after striker partner Mikael Forssell saw his shot from close range blocked.

The Kazakhs, although they had several shots on target against Jussi Jääskeläinen, were the inferior side on the day and Sami Hyypiä sealed the three points in the 65th minute with a header off of Joonas Kolkka's cross.

The win keeps Roy Hodgson's men unbeaten so far in qualifying.

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