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WC Qualification Europe
12 October 2012
• Olimpiyskiy stadion Luzhniki, Moskva
Referee: V. Kassai
• Attendance: 54212
A. Kerzhakov 6'
That's it from me, Keeghann Sinanan, till next time!
Three wins in three for Fabio Capello and Russia to start their World Cup Qualifying campaign. A stunning smash and grab display, as Kerzhakov's sixth minute goal was followed by long spells of resolute defending to frustrate an out of sorts Portugal. The Russians top the group with nine points followed by Portugal on six.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Aleksandr Kokorin
90' + 3'
It comes to naught as that man Ignashevitch heads clear, and the final whistle blows!
90' + 3'
All hands on deck as Portugal win a corner. Everyone bar Patricio and corner-taker Nani is packed into the Russian box.
90' + 1'
Everyone piles forward for Portugal as the have a free kick in their own half. Veloso lumps the ball into the box, but Akinfeev steps off his line to claim with confidence and ease. It's become that desperate for Portugal.
Yellow Card Roman Shirokov
Three minutes of added time signaled as another Portuguese attack falls flat in its tracks. Eder stands in disbelief after the referee waves play on when he was felled by Ignashevitch.
The clock just keeps ticking and still there is no sign of a Portuguese comeback. Russia are primed to take first place in the group as things stand.
Denisov showing a bit of savvy in winning a freekick off Moutinho, and running a few more seconds off the clock.
Nearly the icing on the cake for Russia! Kokorin goes on a storming run through the Portugal half, leaving three defenders in his wake. He forces Patricio to tip wide with a stinging drive, and Shirokov sends the rebound off target!
Ronaldo again going for broke but again sees his shot from distance blocked. Nothing, absolutely nothing clicking for Portugal ,who have gotten steadily worse in attack as the match has wore on.
Ronaldo again primed to pull the trigger just on the edge of the box, but once more, a Russian shirt is there to meet him and the chance is snuffed out.
So what do you make of the game? Hit me up on Twitter @keeghann, I'd like to hear your thoughts!
Ronaldo attempts to get things going with a barnstorming run in the Russian half, but he is completely taken out by an excellent challenge from Bystrov, who tracked back expertly to win back the ball.
A long ball from Pepe is aimed towards Ronaldo, who is beaten to it comfortably by Akinfeev. Ronaldo really hasn't looked himself today. Perhaps it was a rash decision to start him given his fitness struggles?
The body language from Portugal is telling. A lot of drooped heads and exasperated sighs. Why Paulo Bento has not gone to his bench is beyond me.
Ronaldo collects the ball on the run, beats Anyukov, but absolutely puts his foot through the ball and sends it into orbit.
It's not been the same story for Portugal as the first half. They are finding it harder and harder to create clear-cut chances in the face of an increasingly confident Russian back four, with Ignashevich especially proving unflappable.
We have a Postiga sighting! The striker breaks clear out wide and lays the ball off for Nani, who shoots first time, but Ignashavich is there to block the effort.
So we come up to the hour mark in the game. What are your opinions of the match so far? Get in tough on Twitter @keeghann.
Nani with a great flick to Pereira, who races clear down the byline. He tries to pick out Ronaldo on the run towards the near post, but Ignashevich gets there just in time to poke out for a corner! Great defending!
For one second, it looked like Bystrov had found himself through on goal after a failed offside trap from Portugal. However, he cannot beat Lopes, who recovered admirably to clear for a corner. He has hardly put a foot wrong at the back since replacing Coentrao early on.
Shirokov attempts to set Kerzhakov racing onto goal, but Bruno Alves steps in front of the pass with authority to make a timely interception.
Nearly a clean break for Ronaldo, as Nani picks him out with a pinpoint through pass. However, it seems to roll under his studs, and he loses control of the ball.
The ball falls through for Kokorin on the left, and the Russian has the beating of Pereira for pace. He squeezes a shot towards goal, but the angle was always against him and Patricio snares at the near post.
It comes to nothing as Kombarov manages to head clear.
Kokorin with a ball into the heart of the area that falls into no-man's land, right between the last defender and the goalkeeper. Pereira makes things safe by clearing for a corner.
Here we go again! Remember to reach me on Twitter @keeghann for any thoughts on the game!
Very much a smash and grab clinic from Russia in the first half. They exploited a Portuguese defensive mixup to race in front after only six minutes, then have spent the rest of the half trapped inside their own half as Portugal kept coming at them. But through stout defending, Portuguese profligacy and a bit of luck, they remain ahead going into the break. Second half in just a bit, so stay tuned!
45' + 1'
He beats the wall, but it's a tame one that bounces just in front of Akinfeev, who judges the flight of the ball perfectly and snares. And that folks will be the last action of the half as the referee blows for the break!
Free kick to come for Portugal about 35 yards out. Ronaldo takes charge of it...
Yellow Card Miguel Veloso
A rare attack for Russia is halted in its tracks as Kokorin is flattened just on the edge of the area by Veloso. A deserved yellow card for the Portugal midfielder. Dangerous free kick to come.
A little confusion in the Portuguese ranks as Ronaldo attempts to swap flanks with Nani, only for him to stay rooted on the right. Those two will never see eye to eye, will they?
Kerzhakov gets to a long goalkick from Akinfeev first, but Pepe muscles him off and regains possession for Portugal. Pepe's positioning has been rather shoddy all game, but other than the events of the goal, he's shown a lot of hustle to recover himself whenever he looks like being caught out.
Russia engage in a brief foray in the Portugal half. But their attacking plan consists of nothing more than a few aimless hoofs into the penalty area, which is bread and butter stuff for Pepe and Alves.
Ronaldo tries to set Nani loose with a sublime back-heeled through pass. Kombarov steps in front of the winger to block his path towards goal, is bundled over, and is once again rescued by the referee's whistle. He's playing a dangerous game, the Russian left back,
Remember to get in touch on Twitter @keeghann for any comments on the match!
From the resulting corner, Postiga heads way over, Should have connected better with that one.
Nani this time finds his range with a delivery, whipping a dangerous ball right into the heart of the area. Berezutskiy is forced to head behind for a corner.
The referee wisely breaks up the throng of players congregating and gets play started again. No sooner than he does, Ronaldo squares up to Anyukov on the ball, but the fullback is having none of it and slides in to claim the ball. Ronaldo wisely jumped out of the way.
Ronaldo is down on the deck writhing in agony after a collision with Anyukov. There didn't appear to be much in that, Ronaldo simply appeared to run right into the Russian defender He's obviously come off the worse in that challenge.
Nani AGAIN is allowed space to work a ball into the box from the right. But AGAIN, his delivery is lacking and easily claimed by Akinfeev. Ronaldo cuts him the dirtiest look as another attack breaks down.
Bystrov attempts to beat Lopes towards the byline, but the substitute stands firm and forces him to concede a goalkick.
Kombarov again taking a risk by allowing Nani space to run at him. He is bailed out by the Manchester United man's eagerness to get to the byline, and is fouled. Freekick to Russia.
Ignashevich gets a little too carried away and loses the ball just outside his area. It's worked quickly wide to Nani, who crosses into the area, but Akinfeev steps out to claim the ball ahead of Ronaldo.
It looks like Lopes, a right back by trade, will slot straight into Coentrao's vacated spot on the left side of defence. An interesting prospect for the right-footed Bystrov to attack on Russia's right flank, as he may find it easier to beat Lopes to the byline rather than cutting in.
Bad news for Portugal as Coentrao is down on the deck, with the physios at his side. He may not be able to continue, and Lopes is being readied on the sidelines.
Here cones Nani down the right flank again, and once more, he is able to get in a cross ahead of Kombarov. Ignashevich however, steps forward to clear.
Hit me up on twitter @keeghann for any thoughts on the game!
Bento has to be pleased with Portugal's response since going behind. They have kept Russia on the back foot and have fashioned a few good chances to equalize.
And Alves very nearly turns it home! The defender overpowers his marker and thumps it towards goal with his head, but Ainfeev scrambles across to push it around the post! Good save!
Freekick to Portugal after Moutinho is felled in the middle of the park, and the Porto man himself steps up to take charge of the set-piece...
From the resulting corner, Alves gets his head to it from close range but fires over the bar!
Another chance for Portugal! Ronaldo nearly replicates his opening Clasico goal from last weekend, racing onto a through ball and firing low at the near post! Akinfeev, however, is equal to it and pushes clear!
Almost an own goal at the other end! Nani whips in a good delivery that bounces just in front of the goalkeeper, and with Ronaldo and Postiga teeing up, Ignashavich slices his clearance, and it almost bobbles in at the far post!
Assist Roman Shirokov
Goal Aleksandr Kerzhakov
FIRST BLOOD TO RUSSIA! Portugal's defence is caught completely out! Pepe is pressing Shirokov near the halfway line, but the Russian midfielder takes him completely out of the equation with a delicious through ball that releases Kerzhakov, who makes no mistake against Patricio!
Thoughts, comments or wisecracks on tonight's game? Hit me up on Twitter @keeghann.
Some concern for Paulo Bento as Ronaldo pauses for a moment to hold his ankle gingerly. The Real Madrid star barely made the lineup for today's game after a shoulder sprain, and it looks like there may be some fresh problems.
It's all Russia in the opening exchanges, as Portugal seem content to sit deep and soak up the pressure. Bystrov has just been penalized for a handball.
Here we go in a cold night in Russia!
Both sides have won their two opening fixtures in Group F, so something's got to give today! Kickoff is moments away...
Fabio Capello meanwhile has left Arsenal's Arshavin at home, meaning that Kokorin will be given a chance to impress on the flanks, while Shirokov shifts centrally. Pogrebnyak is also absent from proceedings, so Kerzhakov and Bystrov will be relied upon to do the heavy lifting up front.
So after much speculation, it turns out that Ronaldo has sufficiently recovered from a sprained shoulder suffered during the Clasico to start for Portugal. He will flank Postiga along with Nani in the visitors' front three.
Portugal line up with: Patricio, Joao Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Coentrao, Veloso, Micael, Moutinho, Nani, Ronaldo, Postiga
Russia will begin with: Akinfeev, Anyukov, Ignashevich, V. Beresutskiy, Kombarov, Denisov, Shirokov, Kokorin, Bystrov, Fayzulin, Kerzhakov
Lineups are in...
Greetings one and all, and welcome to Goal.com's live coverage of the World Cup Qualifier between Russia and Portugal! I'm Keeghann Sinanan, and I'll be bringing you the play-by-play, so stay tuned.
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