Atalanta striker Miranchuk’s decisive goal came in the first-half stoppage and the victory followed Saturday’s 3-0 defeat in Group B to Belgium.
Finland had beaten Denmark 1-0 in their opener, in a game overshadowed by the collapse of Christian Eriksen, but, although they improved in the second half against Russia, they didn’t. managed to seriously disrupt the team of Stanislav Cherchesov.
Russia will be relieved to be up and running – they also extended their unbeaten run against the Finns to 18 games – but they were far from convincing in a shoddy game.
The home side were released early when Joel Pohjanpalo’s flying header in the third minute was ruled out for offside by a marginal decision from VAR.
Russia’s first chance came in the 10th minute, but after being spotted by a pass from Miranchuk inside the box, Magomed Ozdoev exploded from 10 yards.
Finland found themselves open again soon after when Artem Dzyuba’s low shot hit a post, although the flag was already raised for another offside.
Russia dominated possession in the first half, but Finland, as they were in their first win over Denmark, were compact and organized in defense.
The Finns’ white wall was pierced by the first shot on target in the second minute of added time at the end of the first half.
Miranchuk played a one-two with skipper Dzyuba just inside the box and curled with his left foot into the upper right corner of goaltender Lukas Hradecky.
Norwich striker Teemu Pukki was pushed back by Igor Diveev’s last resort tackle early in the second period as Finland tried to respond.
Pukki saw another effort comfortably saved and as the second half rolled out Russia were content to protect their lead and hit their opponents at the break.
But Finland lacked a sharp edge to capitalize on their increased possession and Russia comfortably saw the game come out.
Both teams can still qualify for the round of 16. Russia will face Denmark in their final group game on Monday and Finland will face Belgium.