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26.10.2017, 20:27
Russia cruise to the top of Group 1
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REVIEW: Strong favourites Russia didn't disappoint, as they ran out 10-goal winners over Slovakia in the Men's World Championship 2019 Qualification
 

Russia cruise to the top of Group 1

As expected, hot favourites Russia scored a convincing 32:22 win over Slovakia to take their place at the top of Group 1 of World Championship 2019 Qualification Phase 1.

The home side dominated and led for 58 of the 60 minutes in Saint Petersburg. It was a comfortable start for new Russia head coach Eduard Koksharov, who took over the team from Dmitry Torgovanov in July.

Due to the draw between Finland and Luxembourg last night, the winners of this game were guarenteed top spot of the group, and for a brief moment Slovakia led. They took the lead after 30 seconds and defended a 1:0 advantage until the third minute, but that was as good as it got for the visitors.

The hosts hit four consecutive goals to lead 4:1, and produced a five-goal unanswered streak to lead 10:3 after 13 minutes. By half-time the Russians were nine goals up, at 20:11.

The points were already secured for the home side, and in the second half they simply maintained their advantage. It looked as though Slovakia could keep the gap down to single figures, but a late flourish saw Russia extend their lead to 11, before a last-minute Slovakia goal meant the game finished 32:22.

Timur Dibirov top scored for the home side with seven goals in a game where 12 different Russians got themselves on the scoresheet. For Slovakia, Dominik Krok was their best scorer with five goals.

Russia travel to Vantaa to face Finland on Saturday, while Slovakia host Luxembourg on Sunday.


TEXT: Andrew Pickering
 
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