Russia 1 – Slovakia 2: Russians on verge of Euros exit amid focus of attention on fans
ALL EYES were on the fans after UEFA warned that Russia would be kicked out of the tournament if there was a repeat of Saturday’s scenes in Marseille were repeated at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.
ut although they did let off a solitary flare after Denis Glushakov scored a consolation goal in defeat by Slovakia on Wednesday at Euro 2016, it is likely that UEFA will simply fine them, rather than send them home.
But Russia do not need their hooligans or UEFA to send them home early – their players looking capable of doing it themselves.
Marek Hamsik made one for Wladimir Weiss with his superb vision and then scored a belter of his own for Slovakia, who face England on Monday.
And though Russia did briefly threaten another fight back when Glushakov struck late on, the Slovaks held on for their first win at the Euros following defeat by Wales in their opening match.
Defeat left the Russians bottom of Group B with just a point from two games and needing to win their final match against Wales.
Coach Leonid Slutsky claimed afterwards he had not seen the flare, which was quickly extinguished by stewards. Asked if he feared his side would be disqualified, the Russia coach said: “I was totally concentrated on the game. I did not see it.
“The situation in the group is complicated. Every team still has a chance to go through. It will be decided at the end.”
Russia actually started the better team but Hamsik turned the tide with a wonderful ball over the top to Weiss in the 32nd minute.
The former Manchester City player, now playing in Qatar, still had work to do but cut inside and fired a peach of a shot into the bottom corner.
Napoli star Hamsik, this game’s best player, then took matters into his own hands before half time by firing a spectacular curler in off the far post.
When Russia finally did threaten, defender Jan Durica blocked Fedor Smolov’s goalbound shot.
Glushakov gave them hope of another comeback with a fine header from Oleg Shatov’s cut-back as Slovakia tired, but there would be no late heroics this time.