Lisbon: An inspired substitution from coach IÃÂ±aki SÃÂ¡ez helped Spain get their UEFA Euro 2004 campaign off to a perfect start with a victory over Russia. Juan Carlos ValerÃÂ³n came off the bench to score with virtually his first touch and seal three important Group A points. Spain started attacking the Russians from the word go. In form Fernando Morientes partnered Raul up front, constantly probing the Russian defence. The Russian goalkeeper brilliantly saved his side from a bullet of a header from Moreintes. With the Spanish line up wasting the follow up opportunity, the first half ended goal less. Just 36 seconds after Valeron had came in as a second half substitute, Spain finally got the goal they were threatening to score Russia's defence then suffered another blow in the dying minutes of the game when Roman Sharonov was sent off for a second bookable offence. Though the Spaniards emerged the deserving winners, they were not up to the expected standards.
Topics : Football