Austria visit Russia on Thursday with the belief they can overturn their 2-0 UEFA Women's EURO 2013 play-off deficit.
The play-off debutants were caught out by two swift first-half counterattacks in St Polten on Sunday that ended with goals from Valentina Savchenkova and Russia's qualifying top scorer Natalia Shlyapina. The important away win was backed up by a brilliant performance from Russia goalkeeper Elvira Todua, who managed to keep a clean sheet in spite of 12 Austrian attempts on target.
"We had a lot of chances at home and were the better side especially in the second half," Austria coach Dominik Thalhammer told UEFA.com. "I am going to stress this when I motivate my players before the game. The key moment could be scoring the opening goal which would put Russia under pressure. After this we would be able to see how they would react."
Captain Marlies Hanschitz echoed the approach of her coach. "If we score first, anything is possible," she said. "We have a good team that is certainly not going to give it up until the last minute. We saw that it is possible to create chances in St Polten – what we need is just to convert them."
Favourites even before the first leg, having qualified for three of the last four final tournaments, Russia are still taking nothing for granted. Sergei Lavrentyev, who took charge for the first time on Sunday, told UEFA.com: "For us the main thing is to be fully focused in defence and wait for our moments up front. We are going to be completely ready, as we were before the first leg. I do not expect an easy game at all. Austria showed how strong a team they have."
There should be a good crowd as Rostov-na-Donu does not host international games too often. FC Rostov season ticket holders will get in free and Lavrentyev explained: "Games in different regions help to promote and develop women's football. I hope our team will give local fans something to cheer about."
Midfielder Elena Terekhova added: "We are going to play at home in front of our supporters. We have to play our brand of football again without losing concentration, take our chances and finish our work with a win and a happy ending."