Two-goal Simoutenkov leads New Year cup coup
Diminutive striker Igor Simoutenkov stood tall last night after guiding Russia to victory in the Carlsberg Cup Lunar New Year tournament.
The Hong Kong Stadium fans took Simoutenkov to their hearts after he scored both goals in Russia's 2-1 victory over Switzerland in the final.
Also impressed was delighted Russian coach Boris Ignatiev.
'He's a very talented young player with a very good future,' he said.
'He's only 24 . . . I'm sure you will see much more of him.' The forward, who plays his club football for Italian Serie A side Reggiana, struck in the 22nd and 25th minutes to hand Russia their first Carlsberg Cup.
The crowd of 20,167 were amazed by the skill and speed of Simoutenkov, whose finishing was as clinical as it was outstanding.
The first goal came when he burst past two defenders to slam home a long cross from Igor Yanovski. But Simoutenkov was saving the best for last, beating two Swiss defenders before firing home a low shot with the outside of his left foot.
Switzerland pulled one back through midfielder Pascal Thuler in the 79th minute.
Meanwhile, star-studded Yugoslavia defeated the Hong Kong League XI 3-1 to finish third.