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7 September 2012
• Stadion Lokomotiv, Moskva
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
• Attendance: 14300
V. Faizulin 30'
R. Shirokov 78'
Russia have look strong under Fabio Capello and Northern Ireland struggled to deal with the host's link up play around the box. Northern Ireland defended well but didn't offer much up front with their best chances coming from set-plays. Russia looked strong in possession and dangerous going forward despite Kerzhakov proving wasteful in front of goal. For Capello it's a great start while Northern Ireland have a lot of work to do in the coming months. Stay with Goal.com for Player Ratings and full Match Report. It's goodbye from me as it finished Russia 2-0 Northern Ireland.
90' + 2'
And the referee blows the whistle for full-time as Russia dominated the game.
90' + 1'
Chance for Northern Ireland as McAuley drives a half-volley at goal but is blocked in what will be their last good chance of the game.
We now enter 2 minutes of stoppage time as Russia will look to see this game out and keep a clean sheet.
Russia continue to dominate the game now and keep the ball as they look to draw this game out.
Yellow Card Gareth McAuley
Kerzhakov has another chance with a free-kick further outside the box than last time but it goes wide as the forward still searches for a goal.
Northern Ireland are looking to get back in the game, pressing their opponents but giving away more silly fouls.
Northern Ireland have thier best chance as McAuley's header is cleared off the line, great chance for the visitors then.
Penalty Goal Roman Shirokov
Shirokov with an excellent penalty sending Carroll the wrong way.
Yellow Card Craig Cathcart
Russia have a penalty after Korokin goes down to a challenge by Cathcart.
Kerzhakov hits the post with a great free-kick and Russia should be 2-0 up now.
McAuley trips Bystrov right on the edge of the penalty area and this is a dangerous free-kick for the home side.
Russia's clever link up from the first-half is being stopped as Northern Ireland are happy for the hosts to move the ball from one flank to the other.
An eager Corry Evans fouls Denisov as Northern Ireland look to put some pressure on a Russia side looking relaxed in possession so far.
Northern Ireland have failed to capitalise on the set-piece opportunities they have had in this game as Lafferty still lacks support up front and is struggling to influence the game.
Yellow Card Alexander Anyukov
Anyukov is booked for time wasting as Russia have a strong grip on the game at the moment.
Dzagoev comes off and is replaced by Kokorin.
Berezutski puts a header wide which could had been 2-0 for Russia but Northern Ireland are again let off thanks to poor finishing from the hosts.
Lafferty is lacking support as he is forced to play the ball back to Brunt who is closed down by Denisov. Lafferty needs more support if Northern Ireland are to get back in this game.
Northern Ireland look to get on the front foot as Johnny Evans launches a ball forward which Russia easily clear.
And the second-half begins.
Northern Ireland are still in this game as the second-half approaches, Kerzhakov has been waistful in front of goal, leaving a chance for the visitors to cause an upset.
Russia's front three of Dzagoev, Bystrov and Kerzhakov have been causing Northern Ireland all sorts of problems with their movement, Michael O'Neill must look at doing something to stop the trio in the second-half.
It's half time here in Russia and the hosts have the lead thanks to a great worked goal which Faizulin finished off. Northern Ireland have it all to do but it's a great start for Capello's side in the first-half.
Chris Brunt takes the corner kick which doesn't find any Northern Ireland player and Russia get the ball clear.
Yellow Card Chris Baird
Baird gets a yellow card for a foul from behind on Dzagoev who is a constant threat for Russia.
Shirokov makes a driving run through the Northern Ireland midfield and is eventually stopped before he enters the visitors box by Johnny Evans.
Lafferty has constantly been unlucky so far in this half as free-kicks and offsides go against him, the striker is yet to make a real impact yet.
Carroll makes a great save to keep Northern Ireland in it as Kerzhakov's strike hits the goalkeeper's right leg. Shirokov heads over the bar as the visitors catch a lucky break.
Assist Aleksandr Kerzhakov
Goal Viktor Faizulin
Russia score!!! Faizulin strikes the ball home as Kerzhakov picks his Russian team-mate out.
Kombarov puts a decent cross in the box but Carroll calmly collects.
Northern Ireland are looking to get forward more but find their passes constantly intercepted by the Russia defence.
Evans is driving down the field with the ball but mis-controls it and loses possession for his side.
McAuley heads wide from the corner, good chance for Northern Ireland there.
Lafferty wins a corner for Northern Ireland, holding the ball up well.
Russia well on top inside the opening 15 minutes and Aleksandr Kerzhakov should have given the home side the lead. After Vladimir Bystrov worked the ball across the penalty area, Kerzhakov pulled a poor shot wide with a clear sight of goal. Bystrov, by the way, could easily have been awarded a penalty having been tripped after picking out his forward partner.
Russia look to try a long ball over the top of Northern Ireland's defence but Carroll sweeps it up.
We have kick-off and the visitors get us underaway
Russia's national anthem is next and it is a big game for Fabio Capello today.
And now for the national anthems starting with Northern Ireland
And the Northern Ireland side: (4-3-3) Carroll; Hughes, J Evans, McAuley, Cathcart; Davis, Baird, C Evans; Ward, Lafferty, Brunt.
Here is the Russia team: (4-2-3-1): Akinfeev; Anyukov, Ignashevich, V. Berezutskiy, Kombarov; Denisov, Shirokov; Bystrov, Dzagoev, Fayzulin; Kerzhakov.
Hi, I'm Tom and I'm guiding you through today's clash between Russia and Northern Ireland - should be a great game
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