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Austria stun Russia in Euro 2016 qualifier

The Local · 16 Nov 2014, 09:02

Published: 16 Nov 2014 09:02 GMT+01:00

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After the fourth round of qualifying matches, Austria demonstrated that even with its top player, David Alaba, sidelined possibly until the end of the year with a knee ligament injury, it could surprise the football world with a decisive win over group favourite Russia.
In front of 47,500 spectators at the Ernst Happel Stadium, the first big chance for Austria came with a disallowed goal from substitute Rubin Okotie, who thought he had put Austria ahead in the 71st minute.
The ball hit defender Igor Akinfeev's leg and seemed to just cross the line before the Russian keeper pulled it back into play. 
After quickly shutting down Russia's counter-attack, Okotie was able to slam home a cross from teammate Martin Karnik, in a play which many television viewers believed showed Okotie was offside.  The goal was allowed.
"The first goal was in, so if the second was offside, maybe justice was done," Okotie, who plays for TSV Munich in the German second division, told Austrian broadcaster ORF. 
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With ten points from four games, Austria are currently on course for the European Championship finals in 2016 in France.  World Cup participants Russia, however, have only five points on the board.
Austria are now unbeaten in nine straight matches since October 2013.

"The group table looks very good but it's too early to draw any conclusions," Austria coach Marcel Koller said.

Austria has never qualified for a European Championship though it took part as a co-host with Switzerland in 2008.

Austria and Brazil will play an international friendly match at the Ernst-Happel-Stadion on Tuesday, 18th November.

The teams have played twice before but not since 1978 when Brazil beat Austria 1 – 0. Brazil also beat Austria 3 – 0 in 1958.


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