Korotaev claims points for Russia
Wednesday, 3 May 2006
by Paul Saffer
from Stade John Grün
Russia withstood a tremendous early barrage from Hungary and snatched victory with just two minutes remaining in their opening UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group A encounter.
Krisztián Németh, Ádám Dudás and Vladimir Koman all caused Russia problems, but Igor Kolyvanov's side held on, thanks in no small part to goalkeeper Evgeni Pomazan as well as the woodwork. As the game went on, Russia looked like they could snatch all three points, and did exactly that when Evgeny Korotaev headed in Sergey Morozov's cross.
Hungary, without suspended defender Ádám Pr
ésinger, were able to field Németh, the leading scorer in qualifying. Just four minutes in he had a fine chance but, sent through by strike partner Dudás, Németh dragged the ball wide. UC Sampdoria's Koman then got in on the act, running through the Russia defence but shooting past the far post - which was then struck by Dudás.
It took 15 minutes for Russia to have their first opportunity, Semen Fomin's cross-shot headed on to the top of his own crossbar by Dániel Lengyel. Soon Hungary were attacking again, Pomazan making a double save from Németh and András Gál. Dudás then went on a surging run, but fired over, and Russia began to look more comfortable as the half wore on. Lengyel and András Debreceni in the Hungary defence were not keen to yield space, however.
There was still nearly a Hungary goal before the break, Dudás exchanging passes with Koman and then releasing Németh, only for Pomazan to block again. Hungary goalkeeper Milán Balikó's first real intervention came five minutes into the second half when Dmitri Ryzhov broke through. Balikó also did well to turn another Ryzhov effort round the post.
Németh was soon back in the action, jinking through the Russia back line before being denied by Pomazan. But Hungary's early dominance had long since vanished, dampening the spirits of their vocal supporters. Russia's increasing confidence was shown on the hour when Igor Gorbatenko's free-kick from distance had to be tipped over by Balikó.
The game was becoming a stalemate, though, and key men from both teams - Dudás and Russia forwards Aleksandr Prudnikov and Ryzhov - were withdrawn, perhaps with half an eye on Friday's second matches. Yet Russia, physically bigger than their opponents, always posed a threat from crosses and so it dramatically proved thanks to the combination of Morozov and Korotaev.