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Russia beat Azerbaijan to reach semi-finals

Russia 6-2 Azerbaijan
Russia remain on course for a third straight final after ousting Azerbaijan to set up a last-four meeting with hosts Serbia.

Watch Russia power through
  • Russia quickly stretch 2-1 half-time lead to 4-1 to win quarter-final
  • Eder Lima scores two late goals for hat-trick
  • Click on the video player above for highlights
  • Thursday semi-final: Serbia v Russia (18.30CET)

Russia remain on course for a third straight UEFA Futsal EURO final after beating Azerbaijan to set up a last-four encounter with hosts Serbia.

Russia, 1999 champions and 2012 and 2014 runners-up, dominated early on but Sergei Abramov's long-range curler was quickly cancelled out by Augusto. However, Romulo restored their lead before half-time with a header following a clever set-piece move. Quickfire goals from Eder Lima and, with Amadeu on as flying goalkeeper, Abramov put Russia out of reach despite Augusto scoring again. Eder Lima's nifty footwork produced the fifth and he completed his hat-trick in the final seconds.

The key
The clever moves that produced the first three Russia goals, two from well-worked set pieces. Gustavo's accurate throw for Abramov to head into an empty net also showed the benefit of work on the training ground.


Russia still an enigma wrapped in a riddle
Russia did just enough to top their group, and it was the same today. Their attacking game is not working as smoothly as in recent years despite the talent at Sergei Skorovich's disposal. However, they will be favourites to face down Serbia and the home crowd on Thursday to go for yet another title, at least on experience and reputation. Eder Lima, the 2014 top scorer, finding his form is another boost.

Azerbaijan improvement obvious
They may have let in 14 goals in their three games here, but in the past two tournaments they were out in the group stage with 13 conceded in two matches. Their coach, Tino Pérez, outdone by several former FC Dynamo charges today, has got Azerbaijan better organised and Rovshan Huseynlii impressed in goal, with Augusto leading strong counterattacks.

Sergei Skorovich, Russia coach
We expected a very difficult game and that is how it proved. We opened the game well, we scored a fast goal but then make a mistake at a set piece. So for several minutes we were a bit on edge. After that we pulled ourselves together, and we used our set piece to Romulo. Once we were 2-1 up, it was easier for us. We knew it would be tough against Azerbaijan's flying goalkeeper, but we scored and kept our two-goal lead which kept us calm. We have two different fours, one were good in attack, the other in defence and that is what helped us.

Tino Pérez, Azerbaijan coach
I congratulate Russia. After going behind we responded well. Up until we went 3-1 down we played very well but when we changed to five versus four, we made many mistakes. That said, we played well with five versus four but Gustavo saved a lot of chances and luck went against us. We just couldn't force the third goal to get it back to 4-3, and then they scored.

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