Football / European Championship: Russia's late rally sinks San Marino

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The Independent Online
RUSSIA struggled for more than an hour against San Marino before scoring three times in three minutes to secure a 4-0 win in Group Eight yesterday.

Russia, still recovering from a player rebellion which wrecked the team's World Cup chances, laboured to break down the part- timers' packed defence. They had scored only once until they decided to change tactics and resort to long-range shots.

Igor Kolyvanov doubled the score in the 63rd minute with a 25- yard free-kick, and less than 60 seconds later the full-back Yuri Nikiforov drove in a magnificent 30-yard shot.

Dmitri Radchenko headed in from close range in the 66th minute to complete the scoring. The cross was provided by Igor Shalimov, one of several rebels who returned to the fold after Pavel Sadyrin, the previous national coach, was sacked.

Several other rebels were back in the team, but Russia found it hard to break through the massed ranks of a San Marino side who had conceded 79 goals in their previous 18 matches. The midfielder Valery Karpin finally broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute with a fine header from 12 yards.

Marseille could miss out on the 1998 World Cup finals because of a financial dispute over enlarging the Stade Velodrome, the home of the 1993 European club champions.

The city is due to stage one of the World Cup semi-finals, but the national and regional governments are in a stalemate over who will pay to extend the stadium's capacity from 40,000 to 60,000.

The World Cup organising committee co-president, Fernand Sastre, has rejected a compromise plan to limit the extension to 50,000 places, and unless a solution is found the city risks being excluded from the tournament.