Lille (France): Russia undone by brilliant Hamsik Marek Hamsik set up the opener and came up a contender for goal as Slovakia beat Russia 2-1 in Lille yesterday to claim a first European Championship finals win.
Slovakia's midfielder Marek Hamsik shows his delight after scoring a goal during the Euro 2016 Group B match against Russia at the Pierre-Mauroy Stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq in Lille, yesterday. Slovakia won 2-1. Pic/AFP
Hamsik's pass released Vladimir Weiss to score in the 32nd minute and the Napoli star doubled the lead in style right on the stroke of half time. Russia pushed in the second half but were left with too much to do, even if Denis Glushakov got one back in the 80th minute to set up a grandstand finale.
The result allowed Jan Kozak's team to bounce back from the 2-1 defeat to Wales.
"We are very proud and happy with our first win at a European Championship," said man of the match Hamsik.
"This has perhaps opened up the gates to the last 16. I did well and am very proud that I managed to score such a goal. It was brilliant." Russia prop up the group with one point from two matches and will surely now need to beat Wales in their final group game to keep their hopes of reaching the last 16 alive.
Weiss wreaks havoc
Hamsik undid the Russia defence with a superb left-foot pass in behind right-back Smolnikov. Weiss still had work to do though, as he cut back onto his right foot and finished with aplomb past Igor Akinfeev into the far corner. Leonid Slutsky's side were stunned but there was worse to come for them, and better from Hamsik, as the interval approached.
The Russian defence was still organising itself when Weiss played a corner short to Hamsik. Oleg Shatov came across in an attempt to block Hamsik but the 28-year-old turned back onto his right foot and curled a tremendous effort in off the far post. It was arguably the goal of Euro 2016 so far and it had the Slovakians at that end of the ground in raptures.