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Resolute Slovakia snatch victory in Russia

Russia 0-1 Slovakia
The visitors made it two wins out of two in Group B thanks to a first-half goal from Miroslav Stoch in Moscow.

Resolute Slovakia snatch victory in Russia
Resolute Slovakia snatch victory in Russia ©UEFA.com

An unstoppable drive from Miroslav Stoch condemned Russia to defeat, ensuring Slovakia maintained their perfect start to UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.

The visitors – who defeated the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Friday − were encamped in their half for long periods of the game in Moscow. However, an excellent defensive display, allied to Stoch's 27th-minute strike, prevented Russia from taking anything from the Group B encounter to add to their opening-day win in Andorra.

Slovakia goalkeeper Ján Mucha was called on several times in a bright opening for the hosts, whose forward triumvirate of of Andrey Arshavin, Pavel Pogrebnyak and Alan Dzagoev were causing the Slovakia defence all manner of problems. The visitors had hardly ventured into Russia's half yet against the run of play Vladimír Weiss's side shocked the home crowd when Stoch punished Igor Akinfeev for a poor clearance with a shot which left the PFC CSKA Moskva No1 with no chance whatsoever.

Russia continued to dominate possession despite the setback and Pogrebnyak squandered a chance to equalise shortly before half-time by shooting into the side netting. Despite an enterprising start, Arshavin had been quiet but the captain, roared on by a near-capacity crowd, raised his game after the break. Konstantin Zyryanov had a far-post effort disallowed for offside in the 50th minute as Russia resumed control yet though they pushed men forward in the closing stages, a combination of their own poor finishing and a stubborn Slovakia rearguard action kept them at bay.

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