Russia 1-2 Slovakia: Marek Hamsik stars as Euro 2016 Group B opens up
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 15/06/16 11:23pm
Marek Hamsik scored one goal and created another as Slovakia threw Group B wide open with a 2-1 win over Russia in Lille.
The Napoli midfielder ran Russia ragged, providing the assist for Vladimir Weiss to open the scoring before crashing home a stupendous second from a difficult angle.
Denis Glushakov pulled a late goal back for Russia but it wasn't enough as Slovakia registered their first victory at a European Championships.
The result leaves Slovakia second in Group B on three points as attention turns to Lens tomorrow where England could leapfrog to the top of the group with a win over Wales.
Russia were unchanged from the side that grabbed a late equaliser in their opening 1-1 draw with England but failed to start with any purpose to their game.
Hamsik gave Russia a sign of things to come on 13 minutes with a rasping half volley that flew past the far post.
Igor Smolnikov surged forward at every opportunity from right back for Russia and his cross on 21 minutes was met by Artem Dzyuba but his header lacked power.
Slovakia were keen to hit the ageing Russian back-line on the counter and they opened the scoring via that tactic on 32 minutes.
Hamsik fired a 60-yard pass right into the path of Weiss, who had found space inside the penalty area. The former Manchester City man still had plenty to do but beat Smolnikov with a clever dummy before rifling an effort into the far corner.
Hamsik then doubled their lead in the 45th minute with one of the finest goals of the tournament so far.
Collecting Weiss' short corner on the edge of the area, he picked out the top corner with a blistering strike.
Russia introduced Glushakov for Roman Neustadter at half-time but it failed to trigger Russia into life as Slovakia were the much brighter side with the ball.
Chances were at a premium until Russia got back into the game with nine minutes left.
Oleg Shatov took advantage to curl a cross from the left towards Glushakov, from where he bulleted a header into the net from close range.
Russia continued to pursue a second goal but, amid growing pressure, Slovakia held out for an important win.