Match report: Russia shock Italy in opening Group B match

Match report: Russia shock Italy in opening Group B match

Russia kicked off their Euro 2017 campaign with a fine 2-1 win over Italy in Group B their first ever win at a European Women’s tournament.

It was the Italian’s who started the brighter as on 7 minutes Melania Gabbiadini broke away before being taken down however the free-kick from a dangerous position came to nothing.

Russia took the lead on 9 minutes with a fantastic strike from Elena Danilova as she beat the Italy challenge’s before thumping the ball Chiara Marchiltelli at her near post.

As the game slowed down slightly it was the Russians who doubled their lead on 26 minutes as Elena Morozova got on the end of Ekaterina Sochneva cross to thump her header into the net.

Italy thought they had pulled a goal back on 31 minutes as Marta Carissimi who plays her club football at Florentina hit a powerful left footed drive only to be denied by Tatyana Shcherbak the teenager in goal for the Russians.

Italy then started to put pressure on their opponent’s as Daniela Stracchi held off the challenge’s before blasting her shot over the crossbar. Russia should have added a third on 41 minutes when Ekaterina Sochneva played a through ball into Danilova but she fired her shot wide.

Russia started the second half on top and they should have gone three goals ahead when Margarita Chernomyrdina shot powerfully wide of the target from just outside the box after holding off the Italian defence.

The impressive Shcherbak was called into action on 52 minutes as she made a good low save to her right after Marta Carissimi had shot from twenty-five yards out. Two minutes later the keeper was called into action again as she made another good save to deny Gabbiadini tipping her shot away from the danger zone.

Danilova was close to putting the Russians out of site as Ekaterina Sochneva played her through but she shot narrowly of target. In what was an end to end game Italy were inches away from getting back into the game as Manuela Giugliano hit a sweet effort just wide on 60 minutes.

Cecilia Salvai was next to test her luck to pull Italy back in the game as she met a Giugliano cross perfectly but could only direct her header wide of goal. Danilova was putting in a fantastic performance the Ryazan forward denied a second after her stinging shot was well blocked by Elena Linari.

It was Linari who had the next opening of the game on 72 minutes as Giugliano played her through but she scooped her effort over the crossbar when she should have hit the target. It was all one-way traffic in a frantic finish as Ilaria Mauro headed a perfect Salvai cross wide from six yards out.

However with Italy pushing forward this left more space for Russia to move into and this is exactly what happened when Ekaterina Pantyukhina was through on goal but her effort was well kept out by Marchitelli.

Italy to their credit didn’t give up and they pulled a goal back as Ilaria Mauro fired in with her right foot a cool finish to give her side hope as the game neared its end.

The 1993 and 1997 finalists thought they had their equaliser deep into injury time when Elisa Bartoli had a goal ruled out correctly for offside.

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