Alan Dzagoev's reputation is blossoming at UEFA EURO 2012, and the talented youngster stood out once again as Russia were held in a hard-fought 1-1 draw by Poland in Warsaw.
After his goalscoring heroics in Russia's emphatic opening win, much was expected of the 21-year-old in this Group A clash between the co-hosts and their neighbours. Neither Dzagoev, nor the match, disappointed and the PFC CSKA Moskva man ended an enthralling encounter at the top of the Castrol EDGE Index for the second game in succession with a score of 9.06.
Before Poland levelled, it looked like the script had changed little for Russia. Dick Advocaat's charges brought dynamism in attack, and the same man opened the scoring, Dzagoev nodding in Andrey Arshavin's free-kick for his third goal of the tournament.
Indeed Dzagoev's performance was a near replica of his first. His link-up play was exceptional – he had seven incisive runs and deliveries (dwarfing the tournament average of 4.73) and six of those were into the final third. As in his first game, he refused to waste a chance, hitting the target with each his three shots – the only Russian to do so.
Unfortunately for his team, however, the similarities with the opening day ended with Dzagoev's sterling efforts, as an impressive Poland earned a point. Poles made up the rest of the top five, with Sebastian Boenisch (8.81) and Marcin Wasilewski (8.65) finishing second and third respectively.
Castrol EDGE Index: Poland v Russia
1. Alan Dzagoev (RUS) 9.02
2. Sebastian Boenisch (POL) 8.81
3. Marcin Wasilewski (POL) 8.65
4. Damien Perquis (POL) 8.44
5. Robert Lewandowski (POL) 8.3
0 – Poland join Romania, Switzerland and Turkey as sides who have failed to win any of their first five games in UEFA European Championship final tournaments.
3 – Russia now boast both the top scorer (Dzagoev, three) and assist-maker (Arshavin, three) at UEFA EURO 2012.
11 – Russia forward Aleksandr Kerzhakov has now had 11 shots without getting one on target at UEFA EURO 2012 (nine off target, two blocked).
5 – Advocaat's side have been nothing if not clinical, converting five of the seven shots that they have fired on target so far at the EURO.
6 – Poland's nine shots on target forced Russian goalkeeper Vyacheslav Malafeev into six saves.
Sebastian Boenisch: "At half-time we said that even though we were 1-0 down, it didn't mean anything and that we would go back out and fight. That is what we did in the second half."
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