Late Poland leveller denies Northern Ireland

CHOZROW - Poland snatched a late equaliser to secure 1-1 draw with Northern Ireland on Saturday in their European Group Three qualifier for next year's World Cup finals in South Africa.

Northern Ireland now have 14 points, still two behind leaders Slovakia who drew 2-2 at home to the Czech Republic. Poland are on 11.

Kyle Lafferty's 38th minute goal, knocked in from a pass from David Healy, broke a lucklustre start in which the well-organised visitors effectively blocked Poland's rather disjointed attacks.

Marius Lewandowski equalised in the 80th minute from a pass by Jacek Krzynowek.

The goal gave Poland a new lease of life and promoted a series of spirited attacks, but these were thwarted by a robust Northern Irish defence.

"We were supposedly a team that was meant to fight, but in the first half there was complete chaos," defender Michal Zewlakow said.

"In the second half we saw desperate attacks. The result is real defeat for us because any chances for an advance are only illusory."

Poland had hoped to take revenge for a humiliating 3-2 defeat in Belfast last March, marked by Zewlakow's bizarre own goal and a fumbling performance by goalkeeper Artur Boruc.