Lexical UnitsScenesConcept HierarchiesSound ExamplesParallel Texts

Russia back on track

Wednesday, 17 November 2004

By Pavle Gognidze

[1] Three goals in nine first-half minutes eased Russia to a comfortable FIFA World Cup qualifying victory against Estonia in Krasnodar.

Excellent start

[2] Andrei Kariaka opened the scoring in front of a capacity 28,000 at the Kuban stadium on 25 minutes, and then set up goals for Marat Izmailov and Dmitri Sychev. Dmitri Loskov converted a penalty 21 minutes from time as Georgi Yartsev's side rekindled their qualifying hopes following last month's demoralising 7-1 defeat to Group 3 leaders Portugal.

Russia changes

[3] The under-pressure Yartsev started with Sychev and Alexander Kerzhakov up front for the first time this year, supported by wingers Kariaka and Izmailov, and Dmitri Khokhlov and Loskov in midfield. In the absence of Sergei Ovchinnikov, Viacheslav Malafeev started in goal, while Aleksei Berezoutski and Aleksei Bugayev were surprise choices in defence.

Kaalma in

[4] Martin Kaalma started in goal for Estonia who were without Mart Poom and defender Andrei Stepanov. Andres Oper and Kristen Viikmäe were paired up front as Estonia coach Jelle Goes fielded an attacking 4-4-2 formation, but after a tight opening Estonia were soon chasing the game.

Karyaka strikes

[5] Russia's breakthrough came on 25 minutes. Loskov rolled a free-kick to Kariaka whose shot slipped through the hands of Kaalma after taking an awkward bounce in front of the goalkeeper. The goal brought visible relief to the nervous Yartsev, and two minutes later Kariaka stole the spotlight again.

Sychev drive

[6] Sychev's back-heel released the speedy winger, who skipped past a defender before feeding Izmailov, whose shot deflected off Urmas Rooba and in. Seven minutes later, Kariaka teed up Sychev who scored with a terrific drive from 23 metres.

Further chances

[7] Russia, featuring five of the FC Lokomotiv Moskva side that won their domestic title last Friday, were attacking at will and Kariaka and Kerzhakov both could have increased Russia's lead in the first half. Estonia's best chance fell to Viikmäe, whose break into the area was stopped by Bugayev's last-ditch tackle.

Loskov penalty

[8] Russia's dominance continued after the restart and they made the pressure tell again on 69 minutes. Kerzhakov was fouled in the penalty area and Loskov stepped up to score the fourth.

Liechtenstein next

[9] Victory takes Russia above Estonia into third, and they will look to close the gap on Slovakia and Portugal when they play Liechtenstein on 26 March. Estonia are at home to Slovakia that day.

Marat Izmailov scored Russia's second goal