Russia undone by Slovakia’s brilliant Hamsik
Hamsik’s pass released Vladimir Weiss to score in the 32nd minute at the Stade Pierre Mauroy and the Napoli star doubled the lead in style right on the stroke of half-time.
The result allowed Jan Kozak’s team to bounce back from the 2-1 defeat to Wales with which they started their Euro 2016 campaign and put pressure on their Group B rivals before England take
on the Welsh in Lens on Thursday.
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. The build-up to this match in far northern France had been overshadowed by hooliganism fears with Russia having been told they would be thrown out of the competition if there was any repeat of the crowd trouble at the end of their draw with England in Marseille.
However, there was a much calmer atmosphere inside the stands, while the match was played with the stadium roof closed.Kozak made three changes to the Slovakia team beaten by Wales, including handing a start to Ondrej Duda, the young forward who had come off the bench to net in the opening match.
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.