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1 vs 0
Played
October 12, 2012 6:00 PM EAT
Olimpiyskiy stadion Luzhniki — Moskva
Referee:‬ V. Kassai‎
Attendance:‬ 54212‎
 
Top of the Match
Sergey Ignashevich
Sergey Ignashevich
Russia
Aleksandr Kerzhakov
Aleksandr Kerzhakov
Russia
Flop of the Match
Hélder Postiga
Hélder Postiga
Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo
Portugal

Russia 1-0 Portugal: Kerzhakov leaves Ronaldo and Co. reeling

The Zenit striker hit the only goal of the game after six minutes as the hosts held out against relentless pressure from Paulo Bento's side with some stoic defensive work

By Joe Wright

Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Pepe, Russia, Portugal
Getty
An early goal from Aleksandr Kerzhakov was enough to hand Russia all three points against Portugal in Moscow.

The Zenit St Petersburg man fired past Rui Patricio with just six minutes on the clock, and despite the visitors enjoying 70% of possession for the majority of the match, Fabio Capello's men were able to hold on for a crucial victory as Sergey Ignashevich put in an indomitable display at the heart of the defence.

The visitors were buoyed by the inclusion of Cristiano Ronaldo in the starting line-up, with the Real Madrid superstar having recovered from a shoulder injury sustained in last weekend’s Clasico in time to feature on Friday.

Capello was without Premier League duo Andrey Arshavin and Pavel Pogrebnyak, so the burden of orchestrating the hosts’ attacks was once again placed on the young shoulders of Alan Dzagoev,  who lit up the early rounds of Euro 2012 with his displays.

Russia got off to the best possible start after just six minutes, when Roman Shirokov found Kerzhakov with an incisive first-time through ball, allowing him to finish cooly past Patricio. Moments later, Portugal’s dismal opening spell was compounded when Fabio Coentrao had to be replaced by Miguel Lopes after failing to shake off an injury.

The visitors rallied quickly and were almost level just three minutes later when Ignashavich sliced a clearance which almost went into his own net, before Igor Akinfeev denied both Ronaldo and Bruno Alves in quick succession.

Nani, who has frustrated Manchester United fans with his recent performances, was a constant menace down the right-hand side as Kombarov failed to get close to him, and only some excellent last-ditch defending stopped his wicked cross from reaching the head of Helder Postiga.

Ronaldo and Nani were persistently Portugal’s biggest threat in the first half and they almost combined to brilliant effect when the captain played a delightful backheel through the Russian backline, but Nani was adjudged to have fouled his man and the move came to nothing.

Russia came close with another Kerzhakov effort from close-range before a frustrated Ronaldo fired a free-kick straight at Akinfeev, as Portugal left the field for the interval with 65% of the possession but without a goal to show for it.

The visitors’ dominance continued after the break and only a brilliant tackle from Alexander Anyukov denied Ronaldo from finding the net at the near post after some terrific interplay between Nani and Joao Pereira. However, Akinfeev remained largely untroubled for the opening 20 minutes of the half as the Russian rearguard, marshalled by the towering Sergey Ignashevich, stopped practically everything Paulo Bento’s side could muster.

Ronaldo saw another effort fly over the crossbar as the Seleccao became increasingly frustrated in their bid to find an equaliser, and Russia began to look the more likely on the counter-attack, with Aleksandr Kokorin drawing a stinging save from Patricio after a strong run and shot.

Portugal threw on in-form Braga striker Eder as they continued their desperate attemtps to unlock the hosts' defence, but Ignashevich and Co. were not to be undone and Russia held on for a crucial victory as they look to reach their first World Cup finals since 2002.


Russia

35
Igor Akinfeev
Goalkeeper
4.00
2
3.50
4
4.00
24
3.50
99
Dmitriy Kombarov
Midfielder
3.00
-
Igor Denisov
Midfielder
3.50
-
Roman Shirokov
Midfielder
6′ 89′
3.00
-
Vladimir Bystrov
Midfielder
83′
3.00
20
Viktor Faizulin
Midfielder
46′
2.50
11
3.00
-
3.00

Portugal

3.00
1
Rui Patricio
Goalkeeper
3.00
22
Bruno Alves
Defender
2.50
5
3.00
3
Pepe
Defender
3.50
12
3.50
-
Joao Moutinho
Midfielder
3.00
4
Miguel Veloso
Midfielder
43′
3.00
17
Nani
Striker
2.50
17
Rubén Micael
Midfielder
67′
2.00
7
1.50
23

Substitutes

-
Anton Shunin
Goalkeeper
 - 
-
 - 
6
 - 
-
3.00
-
 - 
-
 - 
10
Alan Dzagoev
Midfielder
 - 
40
 - 
-
 - 
8
2.50
7
 - 
14
 - 

Substitutes

 - 
-
Beto
Goalkeeper
 - 
-
Eduardo
Goalkeeper
3.00
13
 - 
-
Neto
Defender
 - 
-
Sereno
Defender
 - 
27
Custodio
Midfielder
 - 
14
Raúl Meireles
Midfielder
 - 
6
Ruben Amorim
Midfielder
2.50
17
Éder
Striker
75′
 - 
25
 - 
9
Pizzi
Striker
2.50
17

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
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  • Penalty Shootout Miss
  • Yellow Card / Red Card
  • Red Card
  • Substitution IN
  • Substitution OUT
  • Injury
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  • Goal.com Man of the Match
  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
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  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Results
Group A Matchday 3
Times In EAT
 
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Robin van Persie Robin van Persie
Striker
Man. United
11 2
Edin Dzeko Edin Dzeko
Striker
Manchester City
10 0
Mesut Özil Mesut Özil
Midfielder
Arsenal FC
8 3
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Striker
PSG
8 1
Cristiano Ronaldo Cristiano Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid CF
8 0