Lewandowski hits four against debutants Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
Robert Lewandowski hit four goals in the second half as Poland swept aside Gibraltar in their first ever competitive game 7-0 in Euro 2016 qualifying Group D on Sunday.
There was to be no fairytale for the newcomers in a tough group also including world champions Germany, Ireland, Scotland and Georgia.
Kamil Grosicki, who opened the scoring on 11 minutes, coolly took his second at the start of the second half and the floodgates opened.
Lewandowski, Poland’s captain, quickly hit two and Lukasz Szukala headed in the fifth.
In the final stages the unforgiving Bayern Munich striker slotted in two more.
Gibraltar's stadium too small
Gibraltar’s rocky enclave has a population of just under 30,000 and their Victoria Stadium fails to meet UEFA standards.
The game was therefore played at the Algarve stadium in Portugal, where the Gibraltar fans that made the trip were in full voice for their national anthem and did their best to rally the players.
There was a positive mood from the Gibraltar camp ahead of the game, encouraged by their first victory over Malta in June and they did not ever give up.
Gibraltar's goalkeeper Jordan Perez reacts after a goal scored by Poland. Photo: Reuters
Playing in a largely empty stadium on Sunday, they came under immediate pressure from Poland, and goalkeeper Jordan Perez was kept busy, notably by a Kamil Glik header from a corner.
The Poles soon took the lead through Grosicki, whose shot took a slight deflection off David Artell.
Poland continued to have the greater possession and carried a height advantage at set-plays but midway through the first half Gibraltar caused concern at the other end with a run from Brian Perez, who screwed his shot wide of the post from 20m.
After the break Poland turned their dominance into goals as Grosicki came inside Joseph Chipolina and Artell before coolly finishing.
Then Lewandowski struck twice in three minutes as he stooped to head in a Jakub Wawrzyniak cross and then slotted clinically into the corner.
Next Szukala powered a header into the net from Mateusz Klich’s inswinging free-kick.
The predatory Lewandowski did not let a Gibraltar side, now in disarray at the back, off the hook. He sprinted clear of Chipolina for his hat-trick and was on target again in injury time to complete the rout.
Other Euro 2016 qualifying results:
Faroe Islands 1 Finland 3
Germany 2 Scotland 1
Greece 0 Romania 1
Portugal 0 Albania 1
Denmark 2 Armenia 1
Georgia 1 Rep of Ireland 2
Hungary 1 Northern Ireland 2
Sources: Reuters, Guardian