herald

Saturday 16 December 2017

Fabianski: 'Points dropped but Poland are still on course'

IT WAS the type of goal which, if conceded in the heat of a Premier League battle, would have pained Poland and Swansea goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.

But although the ex-Arsenal man doffed his cap to Shane Long and Wes Hoolahan for their roles in Ireland's equalising goal, Fabianski believes that his side are still, despite dropping two points in Dublin, on course to get to France ahead of Ireland.

"This point gives us confidence and a good position in the group. We are still top of the table in the group so hopefully we can push on from here as a team and work towards qualification," Fabianski told The Herald after last night's 1-1 draw, the Welsh-based keeper looking pleased with himself after winning the battle of the gloves in the Polish side as he was picked ahead of Artur Boruc and Wojciech Szczesny.

"At the end of the day it's two points dropped for us. The Irish side were strong in the second half but we were still in the lead heading into the final minute, and when you are leading 1-0 in the 90th minute but then only draw the game, you can't be happy with the result."

However, he was annoyed at the manner of the Irish goal, how the smallest player on the field (Wes Hoolahan) was able to get his head to a corner kick and then for Long to get a touch inside the box when he should have been marked out of the game by a Polish defence who had, until then, done well to keep an eye on a subdued Irish attack, the only home threat coming from the wings and mainly the boot of James McClean.

"For the Ireland goal, it looked strange to me as we let the Irish player control the ball quite comfortably in our box and it was a lack of concentration on our part, we lost him in the box and he managed to squeeze in that ball," said Fabianski. "There was a bit of a deflection from Shane Long and if that hadn't happened I don't think he would have beaten me."

Poland now regroup and face into their next test, a Warsaw date with a poor Geogian side on the same day Ireland host the Scots.

"The group is very close, it's maybe the tightest group in the competition. The fixtures suit us as we have Georgia at home in our next game, if we win that we will be in a good position heading into the final phase of qualification," added Fabianski, who faces Irish players against next weekend when Swansea meet Hull.

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