Russia 4 Czech Republic 1: Dzagoev double secures victory
Alan Dzagoev's brace seals a two-goal victory for Russia in Group A at Euro 2012 in Poland Ukraine
Two goals from Alan Dzagoev against Group A opponents Czech Republic earned Russia top spot in their opening game of Euro 2012.
Roman Shirokov and Roman Pavlyuchenko chipped in with the extras for Russia, while Václav Pilař scored a consolation goal for the Czechs.
An inspired performance from Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin helped guide his side to what turned out to be a comfortable victory.
Just before the quarter of an hour mark, a lovely piece skill from Arshavin allowed Yuri Zhirkov to play in Aleksandr Kerzhakov, however the Zenit St Petersburg striker skewed his shot wide.
Moments later, a perfectly-weighted cross from Konstantin Zyryanov allowed Kerzhakov another chance, only for his effort to beat Petr Cech, but hit the post.
However, the rebound off the post fell to Dzagoev, who slotted in his fifth goal for Russia.
On the 24th minute, Russia doubled their lead. A beautiful ball from the Russian skipper Arshavin sliced open the Czech defence and found Shirokov, who coolly dinked the ball over Cech.
Just over the half-hour mark, Kerzhakov again had a chance to net his first of the tournament, but the 29-year-old skied his shot well over the target.
A third goal at this stage would have killed off a largely uninspiring Czech Republic side, who hardly tested Vyacheslav Malafeev’s goal throughout the first-half.
Dick Advocaat’s men started the second-half the same as the first, with Kerzhakov spurning yet another chance for his country.
On the 52nd minute, Czech Republic finally had their first real chance and goal of the game. A clever pass from Jaroslav Plašil found the Wolfsburg midfielder Pilař, who rounded Malafeev to pull back a goal for Michal Bílek’s side.
Just over the hour mark, Kerzhakov missed another golden opportunity from close-range to put the game to bed.
Ten minutes later, the recurring theme of Kerzhakov missing good opportunities continued as the striker curled his shot well wide of Cech’s goal, after selling a well crafted dummy to the Czech defence.
Almost immediately after, Theodor Gebre Selassie nearly spectacularly equalised as his superb Marco van Basten styled volley hit the side netting.
Twelve minutes from full time, Russia finally put the game beyond reach. A neat pass from substitute Pavlyuchenko found Dzagoev who fired his shot past Cech.
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