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Author`s name Alex Naumov

Russia beats Andorra 1 – 0 clinching place at Euro 2008

Russia qualified for next year's European Championship on Wednesday by beating Andorra 1-0 and taking advantage of England's loss to Croatia.

Dmitry Sychev scored the winning goal in the 39th minute, meeting substitute Dmitry Torbinskiy's cross from the right to head past goalkeeper Koldo Alvarez.

Russia finished with 24 points, one more than England, which lost to Croatia 3-2. The Croats had already advanced from Group E.

Russia should have put it away before halftime, but Andorra goalkeeper Koldo Alvarez stopped Denis Kolodin's penalty shot.

Andorra , which was outscored 42-2 in 12 matches, finished last in Group A with zero points.

But the hosts threatened with two free kicks in the dying moments, and Russia hung on with only 10 men after Andrei Arshavin was sent off in the 84th.

Russia outshot the hosts 12-2, with Alvarez making four saves before Sychev's header put the Russians ahead for good.

Alvarez, who would be substituted by Jose Antonio Gomes to start the second half, was booked for taking down Alexander Kerzhakov inside the area in the 44th.

Russia squeaked through with the lowest amount of goals scored by any away opponent at the Estadi Communal during qualifying, the AP reports.

The visitors had a chance to extend their lead before halftime when they were awarded a penalty after Sevilla striker Alexander Kerzhakov was brought down by Koldo in the area, but Kolodin missed the spot kick.

The visitors concentrated on defending their lead in the second half with neither side enjoying any clear chances except for a Kerzhakvov header and a blast over the bar from Andorra midfielder Marc Bernaus.

There was a nervous finale for the Russians, though, as they had to play the closing minutes with 10 men after striker Andrei Arshavin was sent off for a wild challenge on Ildefons Lima, Reuters reports.

Sources: agencies

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