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Poles end Gio's unbeaten run; Rep of Ireland 2 Poland 3 INTERNATIONAL SPECIAL...

POLAND stunned Republic of Ireland to end Giovanni Trapattoni's unbeaten start as manager last night.

A late fightback from the home side at Croke Park gave them hope of extending the Italian's impressive run to seven matches but it was too little, too late.

Trapattoni, who handed Hull striker Caleb Folan his first international start and gave debuts to subs Keith Andrews and former Dunfermline and Dundee United striker Noel Hunt, was still able to take positives from the performance.

He said: "Normally after a defeat I am sad and not happy but this evening I am not sad because I saw from some players that we can believe in the future.

"Yesterday I said Poland are strong and have played together for a long time. But we had some great chances with Damien Duff and we kept believing we could score and for me that's positive.

"I said to the players in the dressing room afterwards that it is better to lose a friendly than a World Cup qualifier. We can start 2009 with great belief. We have a good direction."

Captain Mariusz Lewandowski headed Poland in front in just three minutes, and when Roger Guerreiro marked his half-time arrival with a superb strike barely a minute later, the game looked to be over.

The fact Duff had earlier passed up three glorious chances will have weighed on his mind but Ireland would have been further behind had Robert Lewandowski not fired wide from close range just before the hour.

Stephen Hunt scored his first goal for his country from the spot two minutes from time following Tomasz Jodlowiec's trip on Shane Long.

But Robert Lewandowski made it 3-1 within seconds, and although Andrews blasted home a second for Ireland, Leo Beenhakker's side held on for a memorable victory.

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POLE-AXED: Lewandowski, right, celebrates
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 20, 2008
Words:306
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