Natalia Shlyapina struck an injury-time winner as Russia showed their mettle with a 1-0 friendly win against Ukraine, despite being down to ten players for over half the match.
Sergei Lavrentyev's side were on top throughout in Moscow but the pendulum looked to have swung in Ukraine's favour when centre-back Darya Makarenko received a straight red card for a professional foul six minutes before half-time. Yet the home team continued to press and were rewarded for their endeavour when substitute Shlyapina slotted in from inside the box in the third minute of added time.
"Despite the dismissal we tried to impose our game, keep passing, and in the end we got our reward," said Lavrentyev. "It was crucial we did not concede as we face dangerous opponents at EURO. As for the attack, we know we have plenty of players to count on." It is at the back where he may have problems, though, after first-choice goalkeeper Elvira Todua went off early on with a shoulder injury picked up during the warm-up.
In truth, Ekaterina Sochneva could have decided the match earlier but a combination of profligacy, good goalkeeping and even the woodwork kept it at 0-0. Russia impressed throughout against a side just a place below them in the FIFA rankings, combining well having convened for UEFA Women's EURO 2013 preparations on 14 June.
Wales will be Russia's next opponent on 1 July. After cutting his selection to the required 23 players, Lavrentyev will take the squad to Norway for a friendly in Moss on 5 July. One week later they open their Group C campaign against France in Norrkoping before facing England and Spain.
Ukraine, who remain in Moscow to play Russia's World University Games team on Monday, lost in the UEFA Women's EURO 2013 play-offs to Iceland and are preparing for 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying, starting in Montenegro on 31 October.
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