Russian national under-21 team players after the awarding ceremony after the Commonwealth of Independent States Cup’s final match between Russia and Ukraine..(RIA Novosti / Igor Rustak)
The Russian Under-21 squad have claimed the CIS Cup topping Ukraine 4-2 in a dramatic finally on an indoor pitch in Saint Petersburg.
The Russians went in front after an own goal from one of the Ukrainian defenders during the 5th minute.
But the guests found an equalizer six minutes later, after a great long-range effort from Yury Kalitvintsev, 1-0.
But it was Team Russia, who went into the break a goal up, thanks to striker Andrey Panyukov.
Vutaly Ivanko made it 2-2 soon after the restart, but the second goal of the night from Panyukov on 76th minute granted victory to Nikolay Pisarev’s men.
The battle in front of an 8.000-strong crowd remained heated till the final whistle as the last minute saw Ukrainian keeper Aleksey Shevchenko sent off and Emin Makhmudov settling the final 4-2 score from the spot.
“It was a game worthy of the final,” Nikolay Pisarev, Russia’s coach, told Sport-Express newspaper. “From the start I said that we and the Ukrainians are the favorites for the tournament. It is good that the teams produced such a great match. I want to thank the guys for the win. It was a difficult tournament, with a lot of meetings in a short period of time, but in the final we saw a very good game.”
The coach, who was checking out his reservists in Saint Petersburg, added that some of the players proved themselves worthy of going to the Under-21 European Championships to take place in Israel this June.
The CIS Cup began its history in the 1990s as a tournament for the club champions from the former Soviet states.
The formula of the tournament has changed many times since and is now an event for junior teams.