Natalia Mokshanova scored twice as Russia overpowered Poland 4-1 in Kutno to keep their slender hopes of winning UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ qualifying Group 6 alive when they complete the section at home to leaders Norway on Thursday.
Although the match finished with an emphatic 4-1 scoreline, it took the visitors 52 minutes to break the deadlock when Valentina Savchenkova found the net. One became two six minutes later as Mokshanova scored her first, and Nadezhda Kharchenko added to Russia's tally in the 72nd. Poland pulled one back in the 78th minute, although Mokshanova had the final say when dispatching a penalty soon after to complete the scoring, ending the home teams' own mathematic hopes of reaching the play-offs in October.
The win moves Russia on to 18 points, three behind Norway ahead of their decider in Krasnoarmeysk. Having won the corresponding fixture 3-0 in Stavanger last October, Norway are firm favourites to automatically advance to the finals in Finland and would do so if they do not to lose by four goals on Thursday. The second-placed team will enter the play-offs. "Everything is going to plan," Shalimov told uefa.com after the match. "We are only three points behind Norway. We will play this team on 2 October and this game will show how much we have progressed."