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Russia booked their place in UEFA Women's EURO 2013 with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Austria, after following up last week's 2-0 success in St Polten with a hard-fought 1-1 draw in Rostov.
At home and with a first-leg cushion, Sergei Lavrentyev's side settled earliest and Anastasia Kostyukova's goal on the half-hour mark presented Austria with the steepest of hills to climb. Dominik Thalhammer's charges battled back determinedly, levelling on the night through Sarah Puntigam, but it was too little too late.
The match started with the teams struggling against the bitter, wet weather as much as against each other, and the sides traded possession and long-range shots. Russia broke the deadlock – and settled any nerves – when Kostyukova headed in Valentina Savchenkova's centre after 30 minutes. A Laura Feiersinger-inspired Austria recovered from the body blow, but home goalkeeper Elvira Todua showed her reflexes to deny the Austrian No18 after Nina Burger's smart pass.
If the visitors had the initiative, they also lacked attacking invention for much of the second period as Russia stifled them effectively until midway through the half. Puntigam equalised with a 75th-minute free-kick as Austria pressed to get back in the tie, yet any glimmer of hope was extinguished by a stout Russian defence which held firm for the remaining quarter of an hour.
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