Russia shock Italy in Euro 2017 opener

Elena Morozova's powerful header doubled Russia's lead before the break

Italy suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat by Russia in their opening Group B game in the Women's Euro 2017 in Rotterdam.

Russia led when Elena Danilova's low strike bounced past Chiara Marchitelli at her near post and Elena Morozova's header made it two before the break.

Fiorentina striker Ilaria Mauro poked in late on to give Italy hope after dominating the second half.

Holders Germany begin their campaign against the remaining team in the group, Sweden, at 19:45 BST in Breda.

Italy, who were finalists in 1993 and 1997, were denied by fine saves from Russian keeper Tatyana Shcherbak either side of half-time.

After Mauro latched onto a high ball to slot in on 89 minutes, Italy thought they had earned a dramatic equaliser but Elisa Bartoli was correctly adjudged to be offside.

As they became desperate in a frantic finish, the Azzurri struck the bar but, as the ball bounced down, Russia's Elvira Ziyastinova somehow scrambled it off the line.

Victory for Russia ended their 16-game winless run at the European Championship finals.

At the previous Euros, they were eliminated by the drawing of lots with Denmark, but four years on they now have hope of reaching the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since before the group stages were introduced in 1997.

BBC

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