Russia 1-0 Netherlands
A late penalty from Elena Fomina earned Russia a morale-boosting victory over fellow UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ finalists the Netherlands in Krasnoarmeysk.
A week on from a 3-1 loss to world and European champions Germany, Igor Shalimov watched his players ride their luck in the first half as the Netherlands fashioned a number of chances, including an effort from Dyanne Bito which struck the crossbar. The hosts improved after the break but the contest seemed to be heading for a draw until Elena Terekhova was felled in the area and Fomina tucked away the 89th-minute spot-kick to earn Russia only their second win of 2009.
With first-choice goalkeeper Elvira Todua continuing her recovery from a knee ligament injury, Elena Kochneva took her chance to stake a claim for a starting place at the forthcoming finals with an impressive first-half display. It was, however, Russia who carved out the first opportunity when Tatiana Skotnikova went close from a corner, while at the other end Bito was denied twice in quick succession, first by Kochneva and then by the woodwork. The visitors continued to press and on the half-hour mark Kirsten van de Ven somehow directed a volley wide from close range before Kochneva was quick of her line to thwart another Dutch attack.
Shalimov's side, who play Sweden in their Group C opener on 25 August, posed a greater attacking threat after the restart but looked set to come up short until Fomina kept her composure from the spot. Shalimov told uefa.com: "Our first and second-half performances were very different. Our performance was poor before the break because we only enjoyed possession, nothing more, and the Netherlands had three or four clear-cut chances.
"We had the upper hand in the second half, creating several opportunities and we eventually scored. The team showed they are physically fit and achieved their aim of winning the match. The victory was very important for us mentally because this was our last match before the finals and previously we had won just one game, [4-2] against New Zealand in March."
Russia: Kochneva; Shmachkova, Pertseva, Tsybutovich (Kozhnikova, 28) Poryadina; Skotnikova, Fomina, Savchenkova, Morozova; Petrova (Terekhova, 80), Kurochkina (Danilova, 57).
Netherlands: Geurts; Bito, Koster (Spitse, 78), Meulen, Hogewoning; Hoogendijk, Kiesel-Griffioen, Van de Ven; Melis, Stevens (Van de Sanden, 84), Pieëte (Brummel, 46, De Ridder, 90).
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