Aleksey Miranchuk gets Russia back on track with a victory over Finland

Aleksey Miranchuk (C) puts Russia ahead at the St. Petersburg Stadium

Finland 0 – 1 Russia

Stadium : St. Petersburg Stadium

Aleksey Miranchuk scored the winner as Russia got their Euro 2020 campaign back on track with a 1-0 win over Finland in Group B.

Joel Pohjanpalo thought he had given the Finns the lead in the fifth minute 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 half-time to curl in a superb left-footed effort to put his side in front.

The Finns, who beat Denmark 1-0 at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on Saturday after the match resumed following Christian Eriksen’s on-field collapse, threw everything they had at their neighbours but struggled to hit the target as the Russians held on to win.

It was the hosts Russia, fired up by the home crowd in St Petersburg, who took control in the first half, with the Finns sitting back and soaking up the pressure.

The visitors waited for the occasional break and both Pohjanpalo and Norwich forward Teemu Pukki tested goalkeeper Matvei Safonov.

An injury to full-back Mario Fernandes after a rough fall in the 26th minute did not shift Russia’s focus and his replacement Vyacheslav Karavaev almost tapped in a cut-back at the far post minutes after coming on.

Their dominance finally paid off in stoppage time thanks to a piece of magic from Miranchuk, who took on two defenders on the right, changed direction and scooped the ball into the far corner with a superb left-footed effort with Russia’s first shot on target.

The Finns came out firing after the break with Pukki carving out two chances early on.

That, however, came with a risk as it opened up spaces for Russia, who were a threat on the counter-attack with Rifat Zhemaletdinov’s low shot veering just wide in the 67th and Daler Kuzyaev’s curled effort forcing a superb save from keeper Lukas Hradecky as Finland’s energy gradually faded.

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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