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Martins ends Russia's perfect record

Published: Friday 1 June 2012, 22.47CET
Portugal 1-0 Russia
An André Martins header 16 minutes from time ended Russia's 100% record in the section and moved Portugal to within a point of the Group 6 leaders.
by José Pimentel
Martins ends Russia's perfect record
André Martins (left) celebrates his winning goals for Portugal aginst Russia ©FPF
Published: Friday 1 June 2012, 22.47CET

Martins ends Russia's perfect record

Portugal 1-0 Russia
An André Martins header 16 minutes from time ended Russia's 100% record in the section and moved Portugal to within a point of the Group 6 leaders.

Portugal's prospects of reaching the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-offs received a boost after a 1-0 victory against Group 6 leaders Russia.

After a nervous start, in which goalkeeper Anthony Lopes was forced into early action, saving from Pavel Yakovlev and Fedor Smolov, Portugal settled into a more comfortable rhythm, with André Martins pulling the strings.

The Sporting Clube de Portugal midfielder had already tested the reflexes of Nikolai Zabolotni before sending an 18th-minute free-kick narrowly wide, and as Rui Jorge's side increased the pressure on a side with a perfect record in the section, Zabolotni was called upon to deny João Pereira's header, on 28 minutes, following a right-wing cross by Josué, and a close-range strike from Martins.

Portugal, in need of a win to realistically keep their play-off hopes alive, met still more stubborn resistance from Zabolotni after the interval as the FC Spartak Moskva thwarted efforts from Diogo Rosado and Martins, while at the other end the visitors almost scored themselves when Smolov brought the best out of Lopes.

The introduction of David Simão and Abel Camará gave Portugal renewed impetus and the home side were finally rewarded for their endeavour when Salvador Agra's run and cross was converted at the far post by Martins. Their third win of the campaign took Portugal to within a point of leaders Russia, who have a game in hand.

Last updated: 09/05/13 11.31CET

http://www.uefa.com/under21/season=2013/matches/round=2000192/match=2006900/postmatch/report/index.html#portugal+edge+past+russia

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