Aleksei Miranchuk hits stunning winner for Russia against Finland at Euro 2020

But win is marred by injury to Fernandes who was carried off the pitch on a stretcher after bad fall

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Group B - Finland v Russia - Saint Petersburg Arena, Saint Petersburg, Russia - June 16, 2021 Russia's Aleksei Miranchuk celebrates scoring their first goal Pool via REUTERS/Anton Vaganov
Powered by automated translation

Aleksei Miranchuk's stunning winner against Finland secured Russia their first win at Euro 2020 on Wednesday.

But the 1-0 victory was marred when defender Mario Fernandes was carried off the pitch after a heavy fall in Saint Petersburg.

The 30-year-old went up for a high ball in the Finland box in the first half and came down awkwardly, the back of his neck taking the full force of the landing.

The Brazilian-born CSKA Moscow player was carried off the pitch on a stretcher with a brace around his head and neck and taken to the hospital for scans.

"Fernandes was suspected of having a thoracic spine injury," the Russian team said in a statement.

"According to the scan results, Fernandes does not have a spinal injury. He is flying with the team to Moscow and will be under the supervision of the doctors of the Russian national team."

After suffering a 3-0 defeat to Belgium in their opening Group B game, beating Finland was essential to kickstart Russia's campaign.

Miranchuk, of Serie A side Atalanta, produced a glorious finish in first-half stoppage time for the only goal of the game.

Russia's final group game will be in Denmark next Monday, while Finland should again have a sizeable support behind them as they stay in Saint Petersburg to play Belgium.

"Aleksei scored a great goal, we're happy," said Russia manager Stanislav Cherchesov. "We're happy with the plan, the players did what I asked them to do. We had to create chances, and we did."

Finland, making their debut at a major international tournament, had beaten Denmark 1-0 in Copenhagen on Saturday, a game completely overshadowed by Christian Eriksen's cardiac arrest.

And the Finns, who all wore T-shirts before the game saying 'Get well Christian' on the front, thought they had gone in front inside three minutes when Joel Pohjanpalo headed in a Jukka Raitala cross.

However Pohjanpalo, who scored the winner against Denmark, was this time denied as a VAR check confirmed a marginal offside against the Bayer Leverkusen player.

Russia went on to have the better chances and could have won by a wider margin, with Finland goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky producing a superb fingertip save to deny Daler Kuzyaev in the second half.

"We deserved at least one point," said Finland manager Markku Kanerva. "Belgium are one of the strongest teams in the tournament, it will be a huge challenge for us. But the team have shown that they're capable of competing."