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Russia restore order to eliminate Czechs

Published: Tuesday 16 October 2012, 16.51CET
Russia 2-2 Czech Republic (agg: 4-2)
Yuri Kirillov's goal seven minutes from the end took the sting out of a nervy tie, sending Russia to the finals for the first time since 1998.
by Vladimir Bogachov
from Cenralni Stadium
Russia restore order to eliminate Czechs
Russia celebrate qualifying for next year's U21 finals ©Nikita Medvedevskih
Published: Tuesday 16 October 2012, 16.51CET

Russia restore order to eliminate Czechs

Russia 2-2 Czech Republic (agg: 4-2)
Yuri Kirillov's goal seven minutes from the end took the sting out of a nervy tie, sending Russia to the finals for the first time since 1998.

Russia are back in the UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals for the first time since 1998, but came too close to a shock exit for comfort in Yekaterinburg.

Having scored both of Russia's goals in the first leg, Fedor Smolov converted a sixth-minute penalty, but the Czechs rallied. Tomáš Wágner levelled the scores on 12 minutes, and when he made it 2-1 on the day just after the hour mark, Jakub Dovalil's side were within one strike of making it to the finals on away goals. However, the dismissal of Tomáš Kalas shifted the balance, and Yuri Kirillov struck back for Russia before Václav Kadlec's late dismissal torpedoed the visitors' dwindling chances.

Kalas's foul on Maksim Kanunnikov set the scene for FC Anji Makhachkala forward Smolov to score his second penalty of the tie, but Martin Pospíšil's cross invited Wágner to fire calmly into the net through the legs of Nikolai Zabolotni. The Russia goalkeeper produced a fine save to deny Ladislav Krejčí as the home side gug in to preserve their aggregate lead, and Kadlec then missed the target after an impressive run took him past three defenders.

Russia regained some of their spirit of adventure after half-time, but went behind on 64 minutes when, following a corner, Ondřej Vaněk flicked on for Wágner to finish from close range. Kadlec had another decent effort saved soon afterwards, before Kalas was dismissed for a second bookable offence. The ten men hit the bar through substitute Stanislav Tecl before Kirillov found the far corner from the edge of the box on 83 minutes, with Kadlec seeing red four minutes later.

Last updated: 09/05/13 11.38CET

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