Wales edge Slovakia 2-1, England draw 1-1 with Russia

Sunday, 2016-06-12 07:01:37
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Gareth Bale (right) celebrates his opener for Wales. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – Wales cruised to a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Slovakia in their Euro 2016 Group B opener early on June 12 thanks to a late strike by substitute Hal Robson-Kanu.

Gareth Bale gave Wales a 10th-minute lead with a fine free-kick, only for Slovakia substitute Ondrej Duda to equalise.

But nine minutes from time, Robson-Kanu curled a shot past Matus Kozacik to send Chris Coleman’s side striding towards the last 16.

Slovakia missed a golden chance to go ahead after three minutes as Marek Hamsik sneaked past four Wales defenders but his finish was unexpectedly stopped in front of the line by Davies.

Wales delivered an excellent reaction seven minutes later with Real Madrid striker Bale driving an eye-catching free-kick from 30 yards low into the net, leaving no chance for keeper Matus Kozacik to block.

After the goal, Slovakia put up pressure seeking for an equaliser. The two teams exchanged chances early in the second half before a double substitution brought Slovakia back into the game.

Slovakia coach Kozak sent on Adam Nemec and Duda to replace Michal Duris and Patrik Hrovosky, and within a minute Duda had scored, firing a shot past Danny Ward’s left hand from Mak’s right-wing cut-back.

Slovakia missed several chances to finish the game with unsuccessful final shots by Mak, Duda and Hamsik later, and the wastefulness forced them to pay sharply.

With nine minutes to go, Robson-Kanu produced a cunning shot past Kozacik to seal an aggregate 2-1 win for Wales.

In another Group B match concluding a few hours later, England was held to a 1-1 draw by Russia.

Eric Dier opened the scoring for England in the 73rd minute, only for Russian captain Vasili Berezutsk to head past Joe Hart for an equaliser in injury times.

Wales next face Russia on June 21 while England take on Slovakia the same day.

 

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