Spain 1-0 Russia

Last updated : 14 June 2004 By Sandyhills Bear

Raul went close as early as the secon minute when he picked up the ball, turned and sent a cross shot just wide of the post. Spain had started off well and were putting a lot of pressure on the Russians. Gusev picked up the first yellow card four a foul on Vicente. Morientes went close in the 35th minute with a header which Ovchinnikov got down well to save before Etxeberria fluffed the rebound. Russia then went up the park and Alenichev produced a great run but Cassilas saw the danger and narrowed the angle. Russia again went close before half time as an Aldonin strike was held by Cassilas.

0-0 at half time, the Spanish had started well but Russia were more than holding their own towards the end of the first period.

The Russians made a change at half time with Radimov replacing Gusev.

Morientes then misdirected a header as the Spaniards started the second half strongly. Shortly after they made a double change when Valeron and Xabi Alonso replaced Morientes and Baraja. That was to pay dividends as Puyol got beyond his msn to send in a low centre which Valeron switched onto his left foot and slammed home from 8 yards. They continued to dimnate without creating too much in the way of goalscoring opportunities. They did have the ball in the net again in the 82nd minute but Xabi Alonso was peanlised for a foul on the goalkeeper.

Any hopes Russia did have of forcing an equaliser well killed off in the 88th minute when Sharonov was sent off for his second booking after a foul on Torres. From the free kick Vicente fired in a short which the keeper fumbled but no Spaniards were following up to capitalise.

Vicente broke through again in the 92nd minute but fired his shot straigh at Ovchinnikov. Torres then vollyed wide in the last action of the match as Spain opened up their campaign with a win. Russia meet Portugal in their next game and whoever loses than one will be out of the tournament.

Sandyhills Bear