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Russia qualify for EURO by defeating Montenegro

Russia 2-0 Montenegro
Right-back Oleg Kuzmin and Aleksandr Kokorin, from the spot, scored as Russia claimed the second automatic qualifying place in Group G.

Highlights: Russia 2-0 Montenegro
Highlights: Russia 2-0 Montenegro
  • Russia qualify for UEFA EURO 2016 as Group G runners-up
  • Rubin right-back Oleg Kuzmin, 34, scores his first international goal
  • Aleksandr Kokorin doubles the hosts' advantage from the spot
  • Roman Shirokov's 50th appearance for Russia ends in victory
  • Home coach Leonid Slutski records his fourth straight win since taking charge

Russia qualified for UEFA EURO 2016 by cementing second spot in Group G with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Montenegro in Moscow.

Leonid Slutski's side struck twice in the space of five first-half minutes. Earning his third cap, defender Oleg Kuzmin opened the scoring with an improvised first-time finish just after the half-hour before Aleksandr Kokorin made it two from the penalty spot.

Russia needed only a draw to qualify as group runners-up behind Austria, but from the outset they made their intentions clear. However, the hosts were finding it difficult to break down a stubborn Montenegro team who had nothing to play for, until the breakthrough came from an unlikely source in Kuzmin.

Igor Denisov clipped an intelligent ball forward and the onrushing Rubin Kazan full-back – who went into the game having scored just once for club and country since December 2013 – managed to guide it past debutant Montenegro keeper Milan Mijatović.

One soon became two. Vladimir Rodić fouled Dmitri Kombarov in the penalty area and Kokorin sent Mijatović the wrong way. The impressive Roman Shirokov then saw his shot on the turn go narrowly over the bar after getting on the end of a fine knockdown from Kokorin as Russia looked to extend their lead.

Montenegro offered little going forward – failing to muster an attempt on target – as Slutksi recorded his fourth successive win since being appointed in August. At that stage Russia were four points adrift of second-placed Sweden; they end the qualifying campaign two ahead of the Blågult, who must now focus on the play-offs.