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Russia substitutes shine in draw with Greece

Greece 2-2 Russia
Mikhail Galaktionov's changes paid off as substitutes Dmitri Pletnev and Yegor Denisov earned Russia a Group C point in Sozopol.

Russia's Mikhail Lysov fends off the challenge of Greece midfielder Spyros Natsos
Russia's Mikhail Lysov fends off the challenge of Greece midfielder Spyros Natsos ©Sportsfile

Kostas Kirtzialidis puts Greece ahead three minutes before half-time
Substitute Dmitri Pletnev equalises close to the hour mark
Greece reply swiftly through Vangelis Pavlidis; Yegor Denisov levels again
Next matches: Greece v Scotland, Russia v France (Sunday)

Substitutes Dmitri Pletnev and Yegor Denisov were on target as Russia twice came from behind against Greece in UEFA European Under-17 Championship Group C.

Russia flew out of the traps, pressing Marios Siampanis into service inside 60 seconds. Artem Galadzhan scampered down the line and into the penalty box, his shot being kept out by the Greece No1's legs. Artem Selyukov's follow-up attempt was blocked.

Siampanis did well again three minutes later when parrying a free-kick from Georgi Makhatadze into that corridor of uncertainty between goalkeeper and defenders. Having weathered the storm, both in a meteorological sense – there was rain, thunder and lightning in the first half – and from Russia, Greece forged ahead three minutes before the break.

Kostas Kirtzialidis slid the ball past Aleksandr Maksimenko after being played in by Dimitris Limnios's measured pass. It briefly quietened the vocal cohort of Russia fans, who had cause to roar with delight just before the hour when Pletnev controlled Makhatadze's assist and dispatched an effort across Siampanis.

Their joy was fleeting, though. Five minutes later, VfL Bochum 1848's Vangelis Pavlidis, found by Theodoros Mingos, restored Greece's lead with a shot into the far corner. Back came Russia, though, and with eight minutes left Denisov equalised, heading Aleksandr Lomovitski's lofted left-wing cross inside Siampanis's near post. Maksimenko's late save from Mingos preserved Russia's point.

Vassilis Georgopoulos, Greece coach
There could have been more than four goals because this was a match between two attacking teams who tried from the first whistle to the last to win the game. It was a very good performance. We are happy because we played well – that's the most important thing.

Mikhail Galaktionov, Russia coach
We have to be satisfied with the result knowing the course of the game, although I wanted something different from my team. We lost concentration and conceded just before half-time, which was not good psychologically, but I'm proud of how my players reacted and managed to keep fighting until the end.