U-21s Stutter in Russia

Russia 2-1 Portugal (U21)

The Portuguese Under-21 team, just like their senior counterparts, put in a lackluster performance against a skillful Russian team. Russia started out on the front foot, coming close twice with two decent headers, but not forcing Mika into a save. Slightly against the run of play, Portugal took the lead through Wilson Eduardo. A surging run from Sporting youngster Andre Martins was finished with an intelligent pass into space for Eduardo, whose shot was partially saved by the keeper, but still creeped in the goal. Russia’s play, however, was becoming more organized, forcing the Portuguese players into silly and costly mistakes. The first half ended with Portugal gaining the numerical advantage, but Russia looked the better team.

The second half started in spectacular fashion after Kokorin headed past Mika to level the scores. Mika will be disappointed with his defense on the play, and also with his lackadaisical attempt at a save. Soon after, Russia poured more salt on Portugal’s already stinging wounds. The corner was whipped in, and the ball fell to Smolov, who, after juking out the entire Portuguese defense, unleashed a deft near-post shot, which squeezed in just past the diving Mika. The goal was quite impressive, and clearly highlighted the frailties of the Portuguese defense. For most of the rest of the game, thing stayed pretty even, with most teams looking equally as dangerous, although Russia looked all the more organized. The final whistle blew and the game ended in a 2-1 favor of the Russians, which they fully deserve.

Mika, Cedric, Joao Pereira, Pedro Mendes, Mario Rui, Andre Almeida, Josue(David Simao), Andre Martins(Andre Martins), Sana(Diogo Viana), Wilson Eduardo, Nelson Oliveira

Man of the Match: Andre Martins

Crutch of the Match: Cedric/Mika

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