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Lewandowski hat trick puts Poland close to qualifying

Denmark's Christian Eriksen, right, celebrates with Pione Sisto after scoring the first goal of his team during their World Cup Group E qualifying soccer match against Montenegro, at the City Stadium in Podorica, Montenegro, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Risto Bozovic)
October 05, 2017 - 1:47 PM

YEREVAN, Armenia - Robert Lewandowski scored a hat trick to become Poland's all-time highest scorer and put his team on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup after beating Armenia 6-1 on Thursday.

Poland increased its lead in Europe Group E to six points ahead of Montenegro and Denmark, who faced each other in Podgorica later. If they drew, Poland would automatically qualify with a game to spare.

With his third hat trick in the campaign, Lewandowski became the most prolific scorer in this European qualifying with 15, one ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Before Lewandowski struck, Kamil Grosicki needed only two minutes to fire Poland ahead with a clinical finish after Lukasz Piszczek set him up at Republican Stadium.

Lewandowski curled in a free kick over the defensive wall from some 20 metres for his first goal of the night and 48th in internationals, tying Wlodzimierz Lubanski as Poland's all-time leading scorer.

Just seven minutes later, Lewandowksi owned the record outright after netting from close following an indirect free kick, given because Taron Voskanyan passed the ball to goalkeeper Grigor Meliksetyan.

Another tap in gave Lewandowski his hat trick in the 64th, and 50th international goal.

Hovhannes Hambardzumyan headed home for Armenia six minutes before halftime to reduce the lead to 3-1.

Jakub Blaszczykowski and substitute Rafal Wolski also scored for Poland.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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