A fine goal from Aleksei Miranchuk gave Russia three points to revive their Group B prospects.
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Russia got their Group B campaign back on track thanks to a moment of quality from Aleksei Miranchuk against Finland in Saint Petersburg.Finland vs Russia: as it happened, reaction
Match in brief
Finland began brightly as they looked to build on their opening win, and Joel Pohjanpalo – the match winner against Denmark – had the ball in the net early on, only for his header to be ruled out for offside. Magomed Ozdoev fired a great opportunity over as Russia gradually took control, but clear chances were at a premium until added time, when Miranchuk played a one-two with Artem Dzyuba before crowning an intricate move with a fine curling finish.
Finland began the second half by showing more intent, Teemu Pukki twice having glimpses of goal, but Russia continued to look the likelier side to register. Substitute Rifat Zhemaletdinov dragged a shot wide before Lukas Hradecky brilliantly denied Daler Kuzyaev. It mattered little, however, as Russia held on for three vital points.
Star of the Match: Aleksei Miranchuk (Russia)
"The goal was perfect with his left foot after he'd taken up a good position between the lines."
Jean-François Domergue, UEFA Technical Observer
Mikael Erävuori, Finland reporter
There were two key moments: the disallowed Finland effort in the opening minutes and the Russia goal just before the break. Russia needed to win and had Finland taken an early lead, it would probably have changed the match significantly. Instead Russia had the initiative and deserved to take the lead, and with their compact defence breached, Finland were forced to open the play more after the interval. They created some half-chances, but Russia were closer to scoring a second goal. With the teams now level on three points, everything remains possible before Matchday 3.
Artur Petrosyan, Russia reporter
Russia deserved to win. They controlled most of the game and had more opportunities. There were some worries in defence throughout the game, but fine defending and a few good saves of his own gave goalkeeper Matvei Safonov a clean sheet on his first start for the national team.
View from the stadium: Ian Holyman, UEFA.com match reporter
Carried by their fans, Russia did just enough to squeeze by a hard-working Finnish side. Both teams will have seen room for improvement but are still very much in contention to make progress on what promises to be a gripping Matchday 3.
Aleksei Miranchuk, Russia goalscorer: "Yes, I scored a good goal, but it's not important. What's important is that we completed our task, won the game, got the much-needed three points and now we want to build on that. At this stage, the victory was most important. This is a tournament full of good teams and every game is the only one that needs to be focused on."
Stanislav Cherchesov, Russia coach: "The players were a real team today. They fulfilled what they had to do and got the win. The formation I chose, I think, was right. To break down their defence we needed to use the wings and we did. The plan worked."
Markku Kanerva, Finland coach: "We defended well and, going forward, we improved on our display against Denmark. We didn't manage to score but we had good situations: some shots that went narrowly wide, others that were blocked. It was a really close game."
Paulus Arajuuri, Finland captain: "I'm so proud of the side today. Of course Russia have quality, but we had chances. I don't know how far Joel [Pohjanpalo] was offside, but it was so close. It's all about fine margins and today they didn't go our way. It gives you a huge energy boost when you score. And when it's ruled out, it takes a lot of energy out of you, too."
- Russia have ended a six-game run without a EURO finals win (D2 L4), since beating the Czech Republic 4-1 in their opening fixture in 2012.
- Russia have now won all five games as an independent nation against Finland, scoring 16 goals and conceding only one.
- Miranchuk's goal was his sixth for Russia, and his first since scoring against San Marino in November 2019.
- Russia have scored during the first half in each of their last five matches against Finland.
- Russia have scored more than one goal in only one of their last nine EURO final tournament matches.
Finland: Hradecky; Toivio (Jensen 85), Arajuuri, D O'Shaughnessy; Schüller (Kauko 67), Kamara; Raitala (Soiri 75), Lod, Uronen; Pukki (Lappalainen 75), Pohjanpalo
Russia: Safonov; Mário Fernandes (Karavaev 26), Diveev, Dzhikiya, Kuzyaev; Zobnin, Barinov, Ozdoev (Zhemaletdinov 61); Aleksei Miranchuk (Mukhin 85), Dzyuba (Sobolev 85), Golovin