Slovakia earned a crucial win in their second match of Euro 2016 to keep their quarterfinals hopes alive. The Falcons got past Russia 2-1 in their Group B game of the competition in Lille on Wednesday.
Marek Hamsik remained the star player of the match as he played an integral role in both goals for Slovakia. While he set up the first goal for Vladimir Weiss, he scored the second. For Russia, Denis Glushakov scored the only goal.
With the win, Slovakia move to the second spot in the group, ahead of England.
Right from the start, Hamsik, the 28-year-old Napoli playmaker was at the best of his form, creating plenty of scoring opportunities for Slovakia and also taking those opportunities. Apart from some sporadic chances on certain occasions, Russia were completely overshadowed by their opponents in the first half.
Slovakia pressed Leonid Slutsky's team right from the start and Hamsik was right in the middle. His first shot on goal at the 10th minute of the match was wide of the target but that didn't make the creative midfielder back down. Hamsik provided a world-class long ball in the 32nd minute of the game to find out Weiss, who cut in from the left to launch a powerful strike on the goal and earn the first blood for their team.
Just about ten minutes after the goal, Hamsik used his dribbling prowess this time to launch yet another shot on the goal, but even this time, his shot wasn't on target. The continuous perseverance from the player finally borne fruit just during the additional time of the first half, as the Napoli star launched a shot on goal with brute force and the ball struck the woodwork and finally entered the side netting.
Weiss played the assist from the corner this time around.
Russia had to make a turnaround and with the final 10-12 minutes of the match to go, they started to press more. The likes of Artem Dzyuba and Fedor Smolov created chances for their team in the first half, but couldn't come out successful. However, with the end of the match approaching, a good build up in the attacking third saw them reduce the deficit of goals.
In the 80th minute, following a nice build up, Oleg Shatov played a perfect cross to substitute Glushakov from the left flank and the latter headed the ball powerfully inside the net.
The pressing game continued from the Russians and Slutsky, who remained a frustrated figure in the bench for the majority of the match, urged his side to keep the momentum on and test the Slovakia defence, who were being a bit shaky under the pressure.
However, they couldn't get the equaliser.
Watch the goals here