Slovakia stun Russia 2-1, fans behave inside stadium

Marek Hamsik inspired Slovakia to a 2-1 win over a lacklustre Russia in Euro 2016 Group B on Wednesday, with the match passing without incident in the stands.

Slovakia, who lost their opener 2-1 to Wales, revived their hopes of reaching the last 16 with a confident display against the much larger nation.

Vladimir Weiss expertly netted the first on 32 minutes after Hamsik's pass and Hamsik then collected a Weiss corner and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the net on halftime.

Substitute Denis Glushakov pulled one back with a header 10 minutes from time but Russia could not force a leveller.

Russia, who received a suspended disqualification from UEFA after fans charged England supporters in their 1-1 draw in Marseille, will now be fretting over progression with just one point in the bag and a game against Wales to come on Monday.

This time Russia supporters behaved themselves with just one flare lit inside Lille's Stade Pierre Mauroy, which had its roof closed after rain before the game. The closed roof led to a louder atmosphere, although a smattering of seats were left empty.

Both sets of fans traded the usual football banter but there was nothing menacing and they even shared a Mexican wave at one point.

A larger contingent of stewards was visible in the Russia section but few police were stationed inside the stadium. Fan segregation seemed to work better than it had in Marseille.

The buildup had also been largely trouble free with only minor incidents in Lille city centre, where England and Wales fans are also gathering before their game on Thursday in nearby Lens.

As for the match, Russia played more openly than they had against England but ended up paying the price after not taking some half chances at 0-0.

Artem Dzyuba shot over and went close with a looping header while fellow Russia forward Fedor Smolov twice missed the target when well positioned just outside the area.

Slovakia's opener came when Weiss kept his composure to finish with aplomb after a fabulous through-ball from deep by Hamsik.

Hamsik then produced more magic by firing home from a relatively tight angle after a quickly taken corner from Weiss just before the break.

It was a great game for the Slovakia pair, who have arguably not achieved what they might have done at club level.

Weiss was once on the books at Manchester City but the 26-year-old is now in the Qatari league. Hamsik is a mainstay at Napoli but reported moves to bigger clubs never materialized.

Russia made tactical changes in the second half but never really threatened a goal until Glushakov nodded in Oleg Shatov's cross. They then pressed hard for the equalizer but Slovakia's stout defence held out.

It was Slovakia's first win at a European Championship as an independent nation, having qualified for the first time.

Last update: Wed, 15/06/2016 - 17:13
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