Russia beats Montenegro 2-0, qualifies for Euro-2016

Russia's Aleksandr Kokorin (4th R) celebrates his goal at the Otkrytie Arena.© Sergei Karpukhin
Russia’s national football team defeated Montenegro 2-0 in Moscow in the last match day of the qualifying Group G, and will now head to the European Championship 2016 in France.

Russian defender Oleg Kuzmin scored the 35th minute opener. Three minutes later, Montenegran defender fouled Dmitry Kombarov. The resulting penalty kick was converted by Russian forward Aleksandr Kokorin.

This victory means Russia has secured second place in its group with 20 points – after Austria – enough to qualify for EURO-2016 and avoid play-off matches.

Russia's Aleksandr Kokorin (L) scores a goal past Montenegro's goalkeeper Milan Mijatovic (2nd L) by a penalty kick. © Sergei Karpukhin

It was a nervous qualifying tournament for Russia – the team, headed by Italian coach Fabio Capello, had only eight points after six matches, having lost two games against Austria and drawn with Sweden and group outsider Moldova. The results led to the Capello resignation, with CSKA Moscow coach, Leonid Slutsky, being appointed as the new national coach on August 7.

Russia's coach Leonid Slutski (L) at the match against Montenegro at the Otkrytie Arena. © Sergei Karpukhin

With Slutsky, team Russia won four games, scoring 11 goals and conceding only one. The first game against Montenegro had been called off after disturbances in the stadium. A flare thrown from the Montenegro supporters stand struck Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev who was taken to hospital. The game continued but was finally suspended after other smaller incidents.