Slovakia deepened Russia’s woes with classy first-half goals from Vladimir Weiss and Marek Hamsik in a tense 2-1 victory in Euro 2016 Group B on Wednesday.
Just 24 hours after UEFA told Russia it would be expelled from the tournament if their fans caused more crowd trouble, the Slovaks outplayed them for large parts of a match contested under a closed roof because of forecasts of heavy rain.
Slovakia, who lost their opening clash with Wales 2-1, took the lead in the 32nd minute when midfielder Hamsik hit a superb long ball to Weiss who cut inside the left-hand side of the box and curled his shot inside the far post.
Just before half-time Hamsik picked up a short corner on the left and struck his own superb curling shot across the goal and inside the right hand post.
The Slovaks appeared to be heading towards a comfortable victory but the game changed direction dramatically in the last 10 minutes.
Substitute Denis Glushakov threw his side a lifeline when he reduced the deficit in the 80th minute, heading home Oleg Shatov’s cross. Suddenly Slovakia were on the back foot and the Russians looked capable of grabbing an equaliser.
Glushakov had a chance to pull his side level late on but fired just wide, and an injury-time corner for Russia was headed clear as the final whistle went.
The result left Russia with just a point from a draw with England at the weekend when their fans were involved in violent clashes with opposition supporters.
Slovakia top the group on three points ahead of Wales on goal difference. The Welsh take on England in Lens on Thursday.