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Russia Women Top Ghana 3-0 at World Cup

September 26, 2003

CARSON, Calif. (AP) _ Marina Saenko got one goal and started another scoring play as Russia beat Ghana 3-0 Thursday in the Women’s World Cup.

The Russians improved to 2-0 in Group D. They opened with a 2-1 victory over Australia and next face China, heavily favored to win the group. The top two teams advance.

Saenko scored on a free kick in the 36th minute, Natalia Barbachina made it 2-0 in the 54th and Olga Letyushova capped the scoring with a close-range volley in the 80th minute.

Russia goalkeeper Alla Volkova, sometimes rushing to the top of the box to turn away scoring threats, was particularly effective when Ghana had breakaways.

Russia counterattacked much of the game. Ghana was especially aggressive on the attack after falling behind by two. Volkova twice rushed out to block shots after Ghana had gotten behind the defense.

Saenko scored on a hard drive from just outside the top left corner of the box that curled around the defensive wall and sailed into the top left corner of the net.

Ghana goalkeeper Memunatu Sulemana lunged for the ball, but had no chance.

Another free kick by Saenko began the sequence for the second score. Letyushova got off a header, and the ball struck the base of the right post. Barbachina pounced on the rebound while the ball was still in the air, and banged the ball high into the net while Sulemana was sprawled on the ground.

Letyushova scored on a volley after a scramble in front of the net.

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