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Duggan hands England a late lifeline

England 1-1 Russia
Substitute Toni Duggan hit a 93rd-minute equaliser – moments after rattling the bar – to keep England's hopes in Sweden alive.

Duggan hands England a late lifeline
Duggan hands England a late lifeline ©UEFA.com

Toni Duggan dashed Russia's hopes of a first-ever UEFA Women's EURO finals win with a dramatic late equaliser that restored 2009 runners-up England's qualifying hopes at the death.

Both these teams lost their opening matches on Friday and it was England who had most of the play. But they had no response to Nelli Korovkina's 38th-minute header until two substitutes, Duggan and Kelly Smith, combined to save the day moments after Duggan had lobbed a shot onto the bar. Both these teams now need to win on Thursday – Russia face Spain and England tackle France – and hope other results go their way.

England conceded early against Spain but nearly had a second-minute goal today when Rachel Yankey found Ellen White, who looped a shot over on the turn, while at the other end a Russia corner came to Olga Petrova, her header saved by Karen Bardsley. But England were looking brightest with a strong wind behind them and Jill Scott's well-hit shot was touched on to the woodwork by the stretching Elvira Todua.

Russia were quick on the counter, though, and Bardsley was grateful to see Korovkina's swerving effort go past the post. Fara Williams was looking lively as she continued to deputise for Kelly Smith and shot wide, however in the 17th minute England were forced into a change when Yankey, on her 129th appearance, pulled up and was replaced by fellow winger Karen Carney, whose corner was headed wide by Stephanie Houghton.

Alex Scott was captaining England as she won her 100th cap and nearly had a 13th goal to go with it after some clever work by Eniola Aluko but the effort drifted beyond the post. Carney's corner was flicked on by Anita Asante to Aluko, but Todua blocked. However, on 38 minutes Russia went ahead, Korovkina heading in after Elena Morozova's cross was knocked back by Elena Terekhova.

Now England needed a second-half push and a long-range Houghton effort made Todua work. On the hour mark Carney sent in a deep cross but White could not quite turn it in. Duggan replaced left-back Houghton as England went for broke, and Aluko came close.

England's last throw of the dice was to send on 34-year-old Kelly Smith with 12 minutes remaining – her first action at any level in four months. Duggan struck the bar and then the gamble paid off, Smith turning the ball across for Duggan who found a sweet left-footed connection. The ball flew into the far corner and England were reprieved.

Player of the match: Valentina Savchenkova

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