Russia stunned as Hamsik inspires Slovakia to 2-1 win
By Philip O'Connor
LILLE, France (Reuters) - Slovakia deepened Russia's woes with classy first-half goals from Vladimir Weiss and the outstanding Marek Hamsik securing a tense 2-1 victory in their Euro 2016 Group B clash on Wednesday.
For the second game in a row, the Russians managed only two attempts on target and their wasteful finishing cost them dearly, with substitute Denis Glushakov's 80th minute goal proving too little too late for them.
Their profligacy leaves Russia needing to beat Wales in their final group game if they are to have any chance of progressing but there was only joy for Slovakia, as they marked their debut at a European Championship finals with a first win.
Just 24 hours after UEFA told Russia it would be expelled from the tournament if their fans caused more crowd trouble, the Slovaks outplayed them for large parts of a match contested under a closed roof because of forecasts of heavy rain.
Man of the match Hamsik gave an early taste of what was to come when he fired a thundering shot just over in the 10th minute but the Russians had plenty of chances of their own in the first half-hour which they failed to convert.
Winger Fedor Smolov was particularly wasteful, often deciding to shoot when passing would have been a better option, and firing chance after chance wide
Slovakia, who made three changes from the side that lost their opening game 2-1 to Wales, took the lead in the 32nd minute when Hamsik hit a superb long ball to Weiss, who cut in from the left edge of the box past two defenders and curled his shot inside the far post.
Just before halftime Hamsik got on the scoresheet himself, picking up a short corner from Weiss on the left and striking his own superb curling shot across the goal and in off the right hand post. Continued...