Despite Eni Aluko's 65th minute equaliser, England suffer defeat to a late Russian penalty.
Russia 2-1 England
UEFA European Women's U19 Championship
ZTE Stadium, Zalaegerszeg
Friday 22 July 2005
Elena Danilova's winning penalty three minutes from full time against England means all eight teams at the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship have something to play for when the group stage concludes on Monday.
Danilova had seen her 17th-minute opening goal in Zalaegerszeg wiped out by Eniola Aluko's third strike of the competition in the 65th minute before the Russia No9 coolly slotted in her second of the evening from the spot late on. The win sees Russia join England on three points, three adrift of France and as many clear of Scotland - who could yet advance to the last four by defeating Russia on Monday, when France meet England.
Russia are traditionally slow starters in this competition so England could not have been expecting Valentin Grishin's side to play with such attacking verve in a first half which saw Elena Terekhova and Danilova strike the post in addition to the latter scoring the opening goal. Kristina Anokhina created it by breaking down the left and striding into the penalty area where England captain Katie Holtham's firm tackle seemed to have averted the danger.
Ever the predator, Danilova pounced on the loose ball and rifled it into the net with the aid of a deflection. On the half-hour Russia appeared certain to double their lead when Terekhova found space behind the English defence, only for the attacker to find the post with her firm drive. The rebound fell kindly for Kristina Anokhina whose composure deserted her as she blazed the ball over an open goal.
Such was Russia's superiority, the stadium clock was showing 57 minutes when England registered their first shot on target, Karen Carney clipping a low shot straight into the arms of goalkeeper Elvira Todua. The chance invigorated England and eight minutes later they were level as Lianne Sanderson split open the Russian defence with a pass to Aluko who confidently slotted the ball in.
Sanderson then saw her long-range drive tipped over by Todua and with seven minutes remaining Holtham's header from a corner was cleared off the line. The final twist would not favour England, though, as Elena Morozova was brought down in the area by Danielle Hill who was subsequently sent the wrong way by Danilova's penalty.
Should Russia finish in the top two in this pool then there will be a 5th/6th play-off match to decide the fourth European team which will join them at a 2006 FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship they will host - giving hope to pointless Switzerland and Hungary in Group A too.
Russia Goals: Elena Danilova 17, 87
England Goals: Eniola Aluko 65uefa.com
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