Russia boss Leonid Slutsky refused to debate the consequences of the lighting of a flare within a section of the ground populated by his side’s supporters after a potentially pivotal defeat to Slovakia in Lille yesterday.
Governing body Uefa are not expected to enact Russia’s suspended disqualification from Euro 2016 following yesterday’s events, a sanction handed out earlier this week following violence at their match with England on Saturday.
“I was totally concentrated on the game and was only looking at the pitch,” said Slutsky. When pressed on potential ramifications, he added: “I repeat, I didn’t see it.”
Slovakia’s first win at a European Championship could be the greatest danger to Russia’s continued presence at the tournament as defeat pushed Slutsky’s side to the brink of elimination.
Slovakia opened the scoring shortly after the half hour mark when former Manchester City winger Vladimir Weiss collected a sumptuous pass from Napoli’s Marek Hamsik, cut inside the Russia defence and fired past Igor Akinfeev.
Weiss then returned the favour on the stroke of half time as Hamsik too possession of his short corner and dispatched a stunning shot which cannoned against the post and flew into Akinfeev’s goal.
Russia were given late hope when substitute Denis Glushakov headed home but a leveller was not forthcoming, which leaves them rooted to the foot of Group B with only a solitary point from two matches.