football

Miranchuk slots winner against Finland to kickstart Russia’s Euro 2020 tilt


A goal in first-half stoppage time by Aleksei Miranchuk got Russia’s Euro 2020 campaign back on track as they beat Finland 1-0 in Group B on Wednesday.

Joel Pohjanpalo thought he had given the Finns the lead in the fifth minute at the St Petersburg Stadium but his powerful header was ruled out for offside after a VAR review, and the rest of the first half was played at a high tempo.

With both sides committing players forward in attack, Miranchuk popped up just before the break to exchange passes with Artem Dzyuba and curl in a superb left-footed effort into the top corner to put his side in front.

The Finns, who beat Denmark 1-0 at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on Saturday following Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest, threw everything they had at their neighbours but struggled to hit the target. Rifat Zhemaletdinov rolled a shot just wide of a post for Russia before Daler Kuzyaev forced a fine low save from Lukas Hradecky as the Russians held on to win.

The result moves Stanislav Cherchesov’s side up to second in the standings on three points, ahead of Finland thanks to the head-to-head result. Belgium, who beat Russia 3-0 in their opener, top the group ahead of their game against Denmark on Thursday.

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