Denmark’s hopes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup were dealt a hammer blow when they lost 1-0 at home to Montenegro following a superb poacher’s goal by Fatos Beciraj.
The hosts made all the running in the Group E game but they were stunned in the 32nd minute when Beciraj, who plays for Dynamo Moscow, lifted the ball home after Stefan Jovetic twisted and turned to create an opening before chipping a pass to his strike partner.
Denmark created a slew of chances in the second half and had several penalty appeals turned down, but the Montenegro rearguard held firm. Montenegro, who have never qualified for the finals of a tournament since being recognised by Fifa in 2007, top Group E on seven points, ahead of Poland on goal difference with Romania third on five. Denmark are fourth on three points after three games.
In Warsaw, Robert Lewandowski proved once again to be Poland’s lethal weapon, scoring deep in stoppage time to earn a 2-1 win against 10-man Armenia. The Poland captain struck in the 95th minute at the National Stadium, scoring for the eighth consecutive qualifier and three days after his hat-trick secured a 3-2 win against Denmark.
Armenia’s Gael Andonian was sent off in the 30th minute after he received two yellow cards in two minutes, but the hosts struggled to use the numerical advantage until Lewandowski’s goal.
Armenia’s Hrayr Mkoyan scored an own goal to put the hosts 1-0 up in the 48th minute and Marcos Pinheiro’s answer was quick, levelling the score two minutes later.
With only the group winner qualifying automatically, Poland are tied for first place with Montenegro. Romania trail by two points while Denmark are another two points behind. Armenia are at the bottom without a point.
Romania dropped two points in a goalless draw in Kazakhstan. It was the second home draw for Kazakhstan, who drew 2-2 with Poland before being thrashed 5-0 in Montenegro in the previous round. It was the eighth winless home match for the Kazakhs since September 2014. Romanian TV reported money and other valuables had been stolen from players and staff at the team’s hotel before the match.
In Group F, Lithuania collected their first win – a 2-0 victory against Malta – thanks to goals by Fiodor Cernych and Arvydas Novikovas, from the penalty spot, in the final 14 minutes. Malta have lost all three of their games in the group including England and Scotland.
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