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Russia into semis after 3-1 win over Dutch
Mark Ledsom | June 22, 2008 03:01 IST
Goals from substitute Dmitry Torbinsky and playmaker Andrei Arshavin finished off a subdued Netherlands team in the extra period after the teams finished level at 1-1 on 90 minutes.
Russia had taken a deserved lead through Roman Pavlyuchenko 11 minutes into the second half but were pegged back by a Ruud van Nistelrooy [Images] header with just four minutes remaining.
Netherlands came into the match at St. Jakob Park as strong favourites after winning all three of their group stage matches.
Russia, coached by Dutchman Guus Hiddink, had the better of the opening exchanges and could have taken an eighth minute lead if Pavlyuchenko had got a firm header on Igor Semshov's cross.
As the first half wore on, Netherlands had several decent chances with Ruud van Nistelrooy missing three good chances.
The forward just failed to get an outstretched foot on to an inswinging Rafael van der Vaart free kick and was then denied twice at close range by goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev.
The Russians continued to look dangerous on the break and centre back Denis Kolodin kept Edwin van der Sar busy in the Dutch goal with some fierce long range efforts.
The second half started as tensely as the first until Russia broke the deadlock with a well worked move down the left.
Sergei Semak was the provider, playing a perfectly weighted pass to Pavlyuchenko who shook off defender Joris Mathijsen before firing a left-foot shot into the bottom corner.
Netherlands attempted to press forward but squandered further chances, most notably when Robin van Persie wasted a 72nd minute free kick from the edge of the area.
With even the normally boisterous Dutch fans starting to despair, Van Nistelrooy finally came good, stealing in at the far post to head home a swinging Wesley Sneijder [Images] free kick and send the match into extra time.
Russia again looked sharpest as the game got back underway and were unlucky not to restore their lead in the 97th minute when Pavlyuchenko struck the bar with a fierce strike.
But Russia's pressure soon bore fruit as Torbinsky made it 2-1 after 112 minutes when he stabbed home a perfect cross from the excellent Arshavin at the far post.
Russia playmaker Arshavin finished off the Dutch with a low shot inside the area that flew past Van der Sar with the aid of a slight deflection after he turned sharply inside the area.
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008