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Russia 4-1 Czech Republic – Match Review

Alan Dzagoev was the star of the show for Russia as they stormed to the top of Group A after sweeping past a timid Czech Republic side in their opening game of Euro 2012 in Wroclaw.

The  CSKA Moscow midfielder scored in both halves as Dick Advocaats men comfortably secured their first three points of the tournament with Roman Shirokov and Roman Pavlyuchenko also getting their names on the scoresheet. It was painful viewing for Czech head coach Michal Bílek who saw his side outclassed by the irresistible Russians who already held a 2-0 lead before Vaclav Pilar reduced the deficit just after the break.

But the damage had already been done as Russia controlled the first half despite nearly falling behind in the early exchanges with Czech skipper Tomas Rosicky firing over from range before Jan Rezek’s superb volleyed cut back went unchallenged as it flashed across the penalty area. It took until just before he quarter for Advocaat’s men to settle into their stride and once they did there was no looking back with Aleksandr Kerzhakov almost breaking the deadlock but he could only steer Konstantin Zyryanov’s cross wide.

Kerzhakov was involved again in the 15th minute heading Andrei Arshavins deep delivery across goal and off the post before Dzagoev pounced to hammer the loose ball past Petr Cech. There was no reprieve for the Czech’s as they del further behind eight minutes later as Russia instigated another devastating counter attack. Jaroslav Plasil sacrificed possession to Arshavin who’s pas, intended for Kerzhakov, found Shirokov who sublimely clipped the ball over Cech as he dove at the feet of the attacker.

Plasil was then lucky to get away with a trip on Arshavin in the penalty area with Howard Webb opting to keep his whistle in his pocket as Russia continued to attack with vigiyr only for Kerzhakov to squander the numerous opportunities put on a plate for him. A rousing half time team talk from Bílek seemed to lift the Czech’s as they started the second period with more intent and gave themselves a route back into the game with a surely crafted goal. Plasil made up for his costly error in the first half by slipping a delightful pass into the on running Pilar who timed his run to perfection, rounded Vyatcheslav Malafeev and tucked the ball home.

It was the spark that Russia required after taking their foot on the gas and they responded with a flurry of efforts with Zyryanov firing a shot just over the bar whilst Kerzhakov struck wastefully wide twice in succession before Dzagoev clinched the points in the 79th minute with a superb right foot finish . The victory was then rounded off in style by Pavlyuchenko as he wriggled away from three Czech defenders before unleashing a vicious strike from the edge of the area that tore past Cech and into the top corner.

Article title: Russia 4-1 Czech Republic – Match Review

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