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Hamsik Stunner Leads Slovakia To Victory Over Russia

Russia vs. Slovakia ended 2-1 in favor of Slovakia as two moments of Marek Hamsik magic gave the small nation their first European Championship victory. It was a massive three points for Slovakia, and it mounts pressure on England in Group B as they get set to take on Wales tomorrow.  

The game started out slow, as both teams fought for control in the midfield. As such, neither team really had any clear cut opportunities. Fedor Smolov came close with a low drive that went just wide, while Marek Hamsik came close with a dipping volley. 

However, it wasn't until the 32nd minute that we got a clear cut chance, and boy, it was a good one. An absolutely beautiful ball from Marek Hamsik found former Manchester City man Vladimir Weiss who finished it cooly beyond Igor Akinfeev. 

Russia continued to look dangerous, but they just couldn't find the final ball. Then, just before halftime, Marek Hamsik struck again. 

Hamsik picked the ball up on a short corner, turned and fired an absolute thunderbolt that smashed off the far post and nestled in the net. Another moment of magic from Hamsik, and Russia looked defeated.

Russia tried to pick up the tempo a bit in the second half, but Slovakia held firm and held them to ambitious attempts from distance. It was hard to see where a goal would come from in this Russian side. Meanwhile, Slovakia continued to look dangerous, as Russia just couldn't handle Juraj Kucka's driving runs.

Russia tried to drive down the flanks more, but their offense was so static that their crosses rarely found their target. Meanwhile, Slovakia defended with discipline, especially Jan Durica, who was a rock at the back.

But then, almost out of nothing, Russia's strategy worked. A smart one-two on the edge of the penalty area saw Oleg Shatov lift a ball into the penalty area which Denis Glushakov headed into the back of the net. 

Now, the game had turned on its head. The Russians smelled blood and pushed forward in the hopes of getting yet another late equalizer. Slovakia put their bodies on the line as they threw in last-ditch tackles lefft and right. Russia had a couple of half-chances, but Slovakia held on for a famous victory and an important three points. 

As if things couldn't get any worse for Russia, a flare was spotted in the Russian fan section after their goal. Russia are already on a suspended disqualification from UEFA due to fan violence, and this incident could see the team kicked out of the competition. Not a good day at the office for Russia, by any means. 

Russia vs. Slovakia

A flare was spotted in the stands after Russia's goal. It could see Russia disqualified from the competition. Photo: @BBCMOTD | Twitter

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