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Russia pegged back but still go through

Russia 2-2 Moldova
Ion Jardan equalised in the 90th minute for Moldova but Russia progressed to the play-offs as Group 6 winners following Portugal's draw with Poland.

Russia's Pavel Yakovlev (right) takes aim against Moldova
Russia's Pavel Yakovlev (right) takes aim against Moldova ©RFS

Russia are through to the UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-offs as qualifying Group 6 winners after a 2-2 home draw with Moldova.

A rare foray forward by the visitors resulted in Anatoli Cheptine opening the scoring two minutes before half-time with a strong shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Half-time substitute Fedor Smolov struck a post six minutes after the restart and then took the free-kick which resulted in fellow replacement Maksim Grigoryev equalising after the set piece had been blocked.

Grigoryev was next to be frustrated by the woodwork, though Russia's disappointment would be short-lived, Smolov turning in captain Pavel Yakovlev's cross moments later. Moldova had the last word, however, with skipper Ion Jardan scoring from a corner.

It was a goal which could have had dire consequences for Nikolai Pisarev's team had second-placed Portugal, who finished two points further back following their goalless draw with Poland, won in Gdynia.