Villa hits hat trick as Spain hammer Russia
Russia also threatened with Yuri Zhirkov and Pavlyuchenko proving a handful for Spain's back four.sports Updated: Jun 10, 2008 23:29 IST
A hat-trick by David Villa helped Spain to a 4-1 win over Russia in their Euro 2008 opener on Tuesday.
Villa grabbed his first when he steered the ball into an open goal after fellow striker Fernando Torres drew goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev out of his net in the 20th minute.
He added the second before halftime, stroking the ball home after being put through by Andres Iniesta, before making it 3-0 when he tucked in a low shot after jinking past a defender on 75 minutes.
Russia pulled a goal back through Roman Pavlyuchenko before substitute Cesc Fabregas headed Spain's fourth in injury time. Spain, who beat Russia 1-0 in their opening match at Euro 2004, made a confident start to the Group D tie under stormy skies at the Tivoli Neu stadium.
They quickly settled into their patient short passing game and had a couple of early chances, Torres sending a shot skidding wide in the eighth minute and Villa scooping an effort over the bar.
Russia also threatened with Yuri Zhirkov and Pavlyuchenko proving a handful for Spain's back four.
But Spain broke the deadlock when Torres raced on to a 30-metre pass from Joan Capdevila.
The striker made the most of a lucky bounce as he tried to beat Denis Kolodin before setting up Villa.
Russia almost equalised two minutes later when Konstantin Zyryanov fired a shot against the post.
Torres had a couple of half chances to extend Spain's lead but it was live-wire Villa who went on to steal the spotlight.