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Finland v Russia Live Commentary, 6/16/21

0 - 1
A. Miranchuk (45+2)
Saint-Petersburg Stadium


That is all from this Euro 2020 fixture, until next time!
Both teams now sit on three points in Group B having played two games each. Finland next face the thankless task of facing Belgium on Monday, while Russia face Denmark on the same day as Cherchesov's men look to build upon their win here.
Russia secure a crucial 1-0 win over Finland to get off the mark at Euro 2020. Pohjanpalo thought he had given Kanerva's men the lead inside the opening 10 minutes, however, his headed effort was ruled out for offside by VAR. Miranchuk, who displayed the only bit of magic in this game, then curled into the top left corner to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time. The Russian's left-footed finish proved the difference in this game, with Finland rarely testing Safonov in the second half at Saint Petersburg Stadium.
90' + 6' Barinov is down on the edge of the area and he seems to be indicating he has been caught by an elbow. The game is all but over and the midfielder makes his way back to his feet with the help of the Russian medical team.
90' + 5' Lappalainen outpaces Barinov and is shown inside, where he finds Kauko. The substitute midfielder looks for Pohjanpalo in the middle, however, the final pass again lacks quality and Safonov is there to sweep up the danger.
90' + 4' CHANCE! Sobolev roams inwards from the left-hand channel before offloading to Zhemaletdinov to the left of goal. The substitute manages to cut in onto his right foot but his final effort lacks quality as he powers over the crossbar from close range. With a bit more composure from Zhemaletdinov there, that would have been game over.
90' + 3' Kamara hovers in possession in midfield as he hesitates before launching long. Arajuuri is forward but doesn't win the header and a sea of Russian shirts speed forward to counter-attack, winning a throw-in on the left-hand side as Kuzyaev's cross gets turned away by O'Shaughnessy.
D. O'Shaughnessy
Yellow Card
90' O'Shaughnessy gets above Sobolev and leaves his opposite man on the floor. The substitute stays down and on the touchline Cherchesov remonstrates with the fourth official. Unsurprisingly, O'Shaughnessy goes into referee Makkelie's book.
89' OVER! Lod delivers the set-piece from the right-hand side and O'Shaughnessy does well to keep the ball alive at the back post as he heads towards the six-yard area. Arajuuri manages to win the second header, looping back towards goal but his attempt goes just over the crossbar from close range.
G. Dzhikiya
Yellow Card
88' Dzhikiya becomes the next Russian name in the book as he smashes at Soiri's ankles. The Finnish also get a free-kick in a good position in the right-hand channel.
86' Kauko has worked hard since his second-half introduction but he is far too enthusiastic as he hacks down Barinov near the right-hand touchline. With Finland chasing an equaliser, did Kanerva perhaps withdraw Pukki too early here?
M. Mukhin
A. Miranchuk
85' Miranchuk, who scored the opener and what could prove to be the winner, wanders off and youngster Mukhin takes his place.
A. Sobolev
A. Dzyuba
85' Cherchesov also makes a change at the same time as he brings on Sobolev for captain Dzyuba.
F. Jensen
J. Toivio
84' Kanerva signals his attacking intentions as he sends on Jensen for Toivio.
83' Finland have just over 10 minutes or so to find a late equaliser to secure what would be a vital point in Group B. The emphasis is on Kanerva's men to attack and chase the game, however, at the moment they look a little out of ideas and inspiration up top.
81' Dzyuba slams into Toivio near the right-hand touchline and the centre-back ends up on the floor. Replays show the Russian captain was hardly looking at the ball and he is perhaps lucky to escape a booking for that needless foul.
80' Lappalainen gives away possession but a poor pass forward means that Dzyuba can't capitalise on the chance. Down the other end, Dzhikiya produces an important block to stop Soiri's cross from getting towards the near post.
79' Cherchesov is the second Russia manager to lose as many as two major tournament games by a 3+ goal deficit (Euros and World Cup), after Guus Hiddink during Euro 2008 (versus Spain on two occasions). For now, however, he seems to be making up for that as his side lead against Finland heading into the closing stages of this game.
77' A late challenge by Pohjanpalo leaves Dzhikiya on the floor near the halfway line. With the centre-back already struggling, it appears there will be another brief stoppage as Dzhikiya gives his leg a rub and regains his composure.
L. Lappalainen
T. Pukki
75' With Pukki not looking to be at his sharpest, Lappalainen is sent on by Kanerva to partner Pohjanpalo up top.
P. Soiri
J. Raitala
75' Raitala, who assisted Pohjanpalo's disallowed goal, comes off and Soiri takes his place.
74' Golovin steers towards the near post but Arajuuri nips in front of Dzyuba to hook away a clearance. On the touchline, it looks as if Kanerva is going to make some more changes.
73' Golovin sends in the resulting set-piece and Hradecky, who could have just kept his side in the game with that save from Kuzyaev, claims the cross confidently.
72' GREAT SAVE! A lack of communication from the Finnish defence in the right-hand channel allows the chance for Dzyuba to break. The Russian captain takes his time before squaring to Kuzyaev, who from the left of goal curls a right-footed shot towards the bottom right corner. Hradecky, however, does excellently to dive to his left and tip around the post.
71' Kamara offloads to O'Shaughnessy, who crosses towards the far post with a whipped, left-footed ball in. The initial pass comes to nothing before Raitala's attempts at recycling possession are headed away.
70' Dzhikiya, who seemed to be holding the back of his leg, gets dragged to his feet and, for the time being at least, it appears the defender will carry on. Cherchesov, who dropped Semenov after his mistake against Belgium, will be wanting to keep his centre-back on the pitch in the last 20 or so minutes.
69' Kauko's first involvement sees him produce a smart touch in midfield before he ignores the forward runs of Pohjanpalo and Pukki to miscue a left-footed strike over the crossbar. Dzhikiya then goes down and the Russian medical team are required to come on to tend to the centre-back.
68' With Belgium their next opponents, Finland will want to throw all they have at getting a result in this game to secure the best possible finish in Group B. At the minute, however, they are struggling to keep hold of possession as Russia grow into the second half.
J. Kauko
R. Schüller
67' Kanerva makes his first substitution as he sends on Kauko for Schuller.
66' WIDE! Dzyuba offloads to Miranchuk, who plays a throughball through the middle for Zhemaletdinov. The substitute makes it to the left of goal, where he uses his left foot to look for the bottom right corner. Zhemaletdinov's low strike beats Hradecky but falls just the wrong side of the post as it goes wide to the right of goal.
65' Cherchesov's attack are far too patient in their attack as the likes of Kuzyaev, Zobnin and Golovin all take too long in trying to work an opening. With Miranchuk ready and waiting to shoot, it seemed like Russia were far too hesitant there in attempting to test Hradecky.
64' Kuzyaev crosses towards the far post and, just as Karavaev looks set to pounce, Uronen heads away another important clearance. After the Finnish's strong second-half start, Russia are slowly asserting their dominance back onto this game.
63' Russia are without a win in their last six matches at the European Championships (D2 L4), losing each of their last three in a row – they’ve never lost four consecutive matches in the competition (including games as USSR/CIS). Miranchuk's opener, however, has them on course to improve on their poor run of form in this major tournament.
62' Dzyuba's initial shot gets blocked and Golovin tries to curl one from the left of goal. The midfielder balloons his shot over the crossbar and he will be disappointed with his effort from that sort of range.
R. Zhemaletdinov
M. Ozdoev
61' Ozdoev, who spurned a glorious first-half opportunity, makes way as Zhemaletdinov comes onto the pitch.
60' Schuller makes a smart foul in the middle of the park as he drags down Zobnin to stop the counter-attack. Somehow, the midfielder escapes a booking and it looks like Cherchesov is going to make a change.
59' This has been a good spell from Kanerva's team, the Finnish are looking more dangerous in their movements, perhaps aided by Lod moving a little further forward through the middle. For now, however, Russia remain a goal to the good as we approach the hour-mark at Saint Petersburg Stadium.
58' Raitala stands up a teasing delivery towards the far post, where Pukki looks set to test Safonov. Ozdoev, however, has different ideas as he flicks away a headed clearance into the right-hand channel.
56' Lod indicates Finland's second-half attacking mindset as he speeds down the right-hand channel before cutting in and shooting with his left foot. The midfielder's effort gets blocked, however, Cherchesov's men are struggling to get a grip as of yet in this half.
55' Zobnin uses Dzyuba as a target at the far post but his right-footed cross is wasteful and curls out of play. This game has turned into an end-to-end affair and Kanerva's men aren't out of this one yet.
54' SAVE! Kamara works his side up the pitch as he drives inside from the left flank before playing a reverse pass to Pukki. The forward squares up two defenders as he drifts onto his right foot before powering a shot towards goal. Pukki, however, doesn't find the corner and Safonov saves comfortably in the middle of his goal.
53' Ozdoev roams inside and looks to play a cute pass between O'Shaughnessy and Uronen. Unfortunately for the midfielder, his pass is overhit and Karavaev can only watch the ball race out for a goal-kick.
52' WIDE! Golovin drops his shoulder to move inwards from the left-hand channel before setting his sights on the bottom left corner from 25 yards out. Hradecky scrambles across but the Russian's low right-footed strike goes just wide of goal to the left.
52' O'Shaughnessy makes a rare foray forward before curling a cross towards the penalty spot, where Pohjanpalo times his jump well but can only head over the crossbar.
51' Golovin is careless with a pass backwards but the combination of Pohjanpalo and Lod fail to capitalise on the midfielder's mistake. The Russians haven't settled as of yet in this half and Kanerva's men may be sensing their opportunity.
49' CHANCE! Lod has space to open his legs and speeds over the halfway line before sliding through a left-footed pass for the run of Pukki. The Finnish forward curves his run and looks set to test Safonov, however, Diveev pulls off a remarkable last-ditch tackle to intervene in front of Pukki.
48' Kuzyaev gets around Raitala but the wing-back does just enough to put off his opposite man, who can only cross into Hradecky's hands at the near post.
47' This is the first time Russia have found themselves ahead at half-time in a European Championship game since 2012 versus Poland (went on to draw 1-1). Russia have never lost a EURO's game when leading at the break (P5 W4 D1).
46' Refere Makkelie gets the second half underway!
Kanerva may be satisfied with his men's first-half work but he will be aware they need to show more attacking willing in the next 45. While Pohjanpalo's disallowed goal gave Russia an early shock, Cherchesov's side grew into the game and he will be happy with his team's first-half performance. However, he too may be asking for them to be more clinical when the chances do arise in front of goal.
Pohjanpalo thought he had given Finland the lead inside 10 minutes as he headed past Safonov to capitalise on Kuzyaev's error. VAR intervened to disallow the goal and Russia set about dictating first-half proceedings, while rarely testing Hradecky despite seeing a lot of the ball. That was until the 47th minute, when Miranchuk curled past the Finnish goalkeeper to open the scoring and send Cherchesov's men in leading 1-0 at the break.
45' + 6' Uronen whips in an inviting delivery towards the penalty spot, where Pohjanpalo tries an ambitious, acrobatic effort with his left foot. Safonov stands still as he watches the forward's strike go well over the crossbar.
45' + 5' SAVE! Dzyuba tests Hradecky with a headed effort from near the penalty spot but the goalkeeper stays centrally to catch the Russian captain's attempt. Initially, it was Golovin who crossed in from the right-hand side to find the forward in the middle.
45' + 4' Miranchuk's opener for Russia was the first shot on target in the game. The goal was Miranchuk's sixth for Russia (35th cap) and first since November 2019 versus San Marino, ending a run of nine appearances without a goal for his national side.
A. Dzyuba
45' + 2' A short passing sequence sees Miranchuk and Dzyuba exchange a one-two, with the former making it to the right of goal. Miranchuk has three defenders around him but he uses them to his advantage as he cuts in and curls a left-footed shot into the top left corner past Hradecky.
A. Miranchuk
45' + 2' GOOOOOOALLLLL! 1-0 RUSSIA! Intricate play from Cherchesov’s men sees Dzyuba find space on the edge of the area. The Russian captain offloads to the right of goal to Miranchuk, who drives forward before cutting inside and curling a left-footed strike into the top left corner. Miranchuk uses O’Shaughnessy as a screen for his shot and Hradecky has no chance of stopping that one!
45' A cross from deep looks set for the head of Dzyuba until Hradecky comes racing out of his goal to confidently claim the loose ball. There will be six minutes of added time in this first half, largely owing to the stoppage before Fernandes' removal.
43' Buoyed on by the Russian crowd inside Saint Petersburg Stadium, Cherchesov's men are still dominating possession. On this occasion, Barinov looks to cross towards the near post but O'Shaughnessy reads it well to clear.
41' Pukki gets a hand in the face from Barinov and wins a free-kick on the left-hand touchline. The Russian midfielder has to be careful as he is already on a booking. More importantly, however, the stoppage allows Kanerva's men a chance to catch a well-deserved breather.
40' Finland have only scored one goal in their four previous games against Russia, it was back in November 1995 – that goal, scored by Kim Suominen, was netted past goalkeeper Cherchesov, now Russia’s current head-coach.
39' Golovin sends in another set-piece from the right-hand side and this time the referee indicates there is a foul inside the box on Arajuuri. The Finnish defence are putting their bodies on the line and protecting Hradecky's goal with everything they have.
37' CLOSE! Lovely skill from Golovin sees him set Kuzyaev free down the left-hand channel before he angles a low, left-footed cross towards the far post. Karavaev is ready to tap-in to an empty net, however, Uronen produces a magnifcent, last-ditch block to turn around the far post. Both players end up on the ground as they collide with the post but seem fit to carry on.
36' Kuzyaev powers down the left-hand side before arrowing another cross towards the penalty spot, where Ozdoev climbs well but heads wide of goal to the right.
35' O'Shaughnessy slowly wanders forward before launching a long throw-in into the area. The other two Finnish centre-backs go forward and hover towards the near post but the throw-in finds the hands of Safonov, who towers above his opponents to claim the loose ball.
M. Ozdoev
Yellow Card
34' Kamara draws another foul in the left-hand channel as Ozdoev hacks him down with a late sliding tackle. The midfielder can have no complaints as he joins team-mate Barinov in the book.
33' Barinov tries to find Miranchuk but Uronen smartly intercepts in front of the midfielder. While Cherchesov's men have seen a lot of possession, they are yet to test Hradecky, who has remained untroubled throughout this first half as of yet.
32' Pukki steers a low, right-footed strike wide of goal to the right but the chance wouldn't have counted either way as Lod was adjudged to have fouled Barinov inside the area.
31' CLOSE! Golovin whips in a right-footed corner from the right-hand side towards the penalty spot, where Diveev finds space to head towards Hradecky's goal. Despite being relatively unchallenged, the centre-back can only head over goal and another opportunity for the Russians goes amiss.
30' Ozdoev attempts to redirect a hooked cross back towards Dzyuba but the Finnish defence manage to recover and shelter the Russian captain away from goal. Uronen then concedes a corner as he produces a headed clearance at the near post.
29' Finland’s 6-0 defeat to Russia back in August 1995 remains the last time they were beaten by that margin in an international match – current manager Kanerva made his 58th and penultimate appearance for the national side that day.
28' A slip allows Pohjanpalo to power through as the forward looks to capitalise on Karavaev's mistake. Luckily for the right-back, Dzhikiya recovers well as Pohjanpalo takes too many touches and the centre-back intervenes inside his own area.
D. Barinov
Yellow Card
27' Barinov joins Kamara in the book for pulling back on Kamara's shirt in midfield. The referee indicates it was Barinov's second foul and he has no option but to caution him.
V. Karavaev
M. Fernandes
26' Fernandes, who stayed down after winning an aerial duel and landing awkwardly on his back, makes his way off and Karavaev comes on at right-back.
25' After winning the initial header to nearly tee up Dzyuba, Fernandes remains down and it looks like he landed fairly heavily on his back. The Russian medical team rush on to tend to the right-back and the game pauses for a brief moment or two.
23' Golovin digs out another cross for Fernandes, who heads back across goal towards Dzyuba. The Russian captain looks to bring the header down from the left of goal, however, a poor touch means Fernandes' offload goes out for a goal-kick.
G. Kamara
Yellow Card
22' Kamara catches Zobnin late and becomes the first name in referee Makkelie's book for his late challenge in midfield.
21' BLOCK! Pohjanpalo thinks he is one-on-one with Safonov after a smart pass by Lod but Diveev produces an excellent, last-ditch sliding tackle to block the forward's right-footed attempt inside the area. Without the defender's intervention there, it looked likely that Pohjanpalo would put his team ahead with a close range finish past the goalkeeper. Nevertheless, Finland get a corner, which they go short with and the chance fades away.
20' Golovin drifts inside and floats a cross towards the far post, where Fernandes is just an inch too short to get to the cross, which ends up going out for a goal-kick.
19' Dzyuba nearly has the chance to capitalise as two Finnish defenders go for the same ball inside their own box. Unfortunately for the Russian captain, he is too slow to react and the Finnish defence recover to clear into the left-hand channel.
18' Safonov has to be quick off his line, rushing out of his area to head away Pohjanpalo's chipped throughball just as Pukki was looking to pounce in behind the Russia defence.
17' Fernandes is the target for a long pass into the right-hand channel and Uronen does well to head away a clearance. After Pohjanpalo's disallowed goal, Cherchesov's men have grown into this game and are dictating proceedings at the moment.
16' Last time out, Pohjanpalo scored his 10th goal for Finland, in what was his 43rd cap for his country – becoming one of only two players in Finland’s Euro 2020 squad to have netted 10+ goals for the national side (also Teemu Pukki, 30). In fact, Pohjanpalo has netted three goals in his last three appearances for Finland.
15' Pohjanpalo tries to work an opening on his right foot inside the area but a crowd of Russian shirts shelter the forward away from danger in front of Safonov's goal. The Finnish forward appears full of confidence, buoyed on by a strong performance against the Danes at the weekend.
14' OFF THE POST! Miranchuk twists and turns and disguises a pass into the feet of Dzyuba, who uses the defender as a screen and aims for the bottom left corner with his right foot. Hradecky can only stand as he watches the forward's effort strike the post before bouncing away from danger. Replays show, however, the chance may not have stood either way as the Russian captain may have been offside.
12' Barinov catches Kamara's ankle as the Finnish midfielder spins away from the midfielder. The referee doesn't award a free-kick, however, he is forced to stop the game as Fernandes sportingly rolls the ball out of play.
10' CHANCE! Kuzyaev overlaps Golovin before sneaking a pass into Miranchuk, who squares across to the right of goal. Ozdoev is completely unmarked at the back post and, with just Hradecky to beat, rushes his right-footed strike to miscue his effort over the crossbar from close range. A great chance goes abegging for Cherchesov's men.
9' Fernandes clips over the top into the chest of Dzyuba, however, Finland's three-man defence combine to dispossess the Russian captain. O'Shaughnessy, Arajuuri and Toivio all did excellently against Denmark and they've got off to a strong start here, too.
8' Miranchuk roams inwards from the left-hand channel before finding Kuzyaev, who goes down after pressure from Raitala but the referee awards a goal-kick. The right wing-back has the edge over his opposite man at the minute at both ends of the pitch.
6' Miranchuk tries to redirect a header back towards Dzyuba from the right of goal, however, Arajuuri is there to intercept in front of Hradecky's goal. Kamara then attempts to break forward but the Russian midfield wins possession back.
5' NO GOAL! Raitala nips in front of Kuzyaev on the right-hand side before delivering an inviting, left-footed cross towards the six-yard area, where Pohjanpalo pounces to head past Safonov from close range. Finland think they have opened the scoring before VAR intervenes an indicates the forward was offside from the right wing-back’s initial cross.
3' Kanerva's men slowly work their way forward to pin their opponents in their own half. O'Shaughnessy wins the initial header but Arajuuri's second headed clearance goes out for a goal-kick, which Safonov plays short.
2' Ozdoev wins the first corner of the game as he drifts towards the byline on the right before deflecting the ball off O'Shaughnessy. Golovin delivers, however, the cross gets cleared at the near post.
1' With the national anthems over and done with, referee Danny Makkelie gets the game underway!
Since the dissolution of the USSR, Russia have won all four of their games against Finland, scoring at least three goals in each of those matches (15 goals for, 1 against).
Cherchesov makes three alterations to the starting line-up that lost against Belgium. In goal, Safonov replaces Shunin, while in front of him Igor Diveev proves his fitness to come in for Semenov. Veteran left-back Yuri Zhirkov also misses out with a calf injury, meaning Miranchuk starts further forward with Kuzyaev dropping to full-back.
Kanerva opts for just the sole change from Finland’s win over Denmark. Captain Sparv drops to the bench and Schuller replaces him in midfield. The match-winners from the last game, Pojhanpalo and Hradecky, start as opposite ends of the pitch as Kanerva’s men look to build on their positive start.
SUBS: Yuri Dyupin, Anton Shunin, Roman Evgeniev, Anton Zabolotny, Maksim Mukhin, Denis Cheryshev, Rifat Zhemaletdinov, Andrey Semenov, Alexander Sobolev, Vyacheslav Karavaev, Daniil Fomin.
RUSSIA (4-3-3): Matvey Safonov; Mario Fernandes, Igor Diveev, Georgi Dzhikiya, Daler Kuzyaev; Magomed Ozdoev, Dimitri Barinov, Roman Zobnin; Aleksey Miranchuk, Artem Dzyuba, Aleksandr Golovin.
SUBS: Pyry Soiri, Lassi Lappalainen, Joni Kauko, Tim Sparv, Onni Valakari, Robert Ivanov, Marcus Forss, Nikolai Alho, Anssi Jaakkola, Fredrik Jensen, Jesse Joronen, Leo Vaisanen.
FINLAND (3-4-1-2): Lukas Hradecky; Daniel O’Shaughnessy, Paulus Arajuuri, Joona Toivio; Jere Uronen, Rasmus Schuller, Glen Kamara, Jukka Ratiala; Robin Lod; Joel Pojhanpalo, Teemu Pukki.
Russia were no match for the world’s number-one ranked team as they fell to a 3-0 loss against Roberto Martinez’s well-drilled and creative Belgium side. The three-goal deficit means they are bottom of Group B and also stretched their winless European Championship run to six games. Reassuringly for Stanislav Cherchesov’s men, however, they have never lost four in a row in this competition and they have also claimed four wins from four encounters with today’s opponents.
Football understandably took a backseat in Finland’s 1-0 win over Denmark on Saturday, with the concern over Christian Eriksen’s health taking priority. While the result was of secondary importance, it did represent success for Markku Kanerva’s men, who had Joel Pohjanpalo’s goal and Lukas Hradecky’s penalty save to thank for their victory. A win against the Danes also ended a six-game winless run and put them in good standing in Group B.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the Euro 2020 Group B clash between Finland and Russia.