PODGORICA, Montenegro (AP) " Poland knows it needs Robert Lewandowski as much as Portugal needs Cristiano Ronaldo.
Captain Lewandowski scored Sunday to help Poland cement its top place in Group E with a 2-1 victory at second-placed Montenegro, and continue his own battle with Ronaldo.
Midway through the campaign, the Bayern Munich star has eight goals. That's just one less than Ronaldo, who is the top scorer in qualifying. Ronaldo scored twice in a 3-0 victory over Hungary on Saturday in Group B.
Poland opened a six-point lead in its group with 13 points, with Montenegro and Denmark both on seven.
Lewandowski struck five minutes before the interval from a perfectly executed free kick.
Poland looked in control in the second half before Stefan Mugosa beat the Polish offside trap and goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski in a rare scoring chance for the hosts. It was Mugosa's first international goal.
Lukasz Piszczek restored the Polish lead nine minutes from time.
ROMANIA 0, DENMARK 0
Both teams wasted some clear-cut chances and missed an opportunity to move to second, leaving the fight over the playoff spot in the group wide open.
Romania has six points, trailing Denmark and Montenegro by one.
The match was played in the city of Cluj after FIFA banned the hosts from using the national stadium in the capital, Bucharest, after previous crowd trouble.
ARMENIA 2, KAZAKHSTAN 0
Armenia needed just two minutes in the second half to deal with 10-man Kazakhstan for a second straight victory under new coach Artur Petrosyan.
The game was still 0-0 when Sergey Malyy was sent off after receiving his second yellow card in the 64th. Kazakhstan paid the price when Manchester United midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan nine minutes later with a low shot and substitute Aras Ozbiliz doubled the advantage after two minutes in the 75th, just five minutes after he came on.
After straight three losses at the beginning of the campaign, Armenia has rebounded with two victories and is just a point behind a playoff spot.
Kazakhstan remains bottom with two points.
This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings