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Malafeev saves day for nervy Russia

Saturday, 26 March 2005

[1] Russia won for the second FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 3 match in succession, 2-1 away to Liechtenstein, but they will feel fortunate to have left the Rheinpark stadium in Vaduz with all three points after a spirited revival from the home side.

Russia strike

[2] Russia got off to an excellent start and jumped to a 2-0 lead within 37 minutes. Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored the first 23 minutes in before Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle allowed Andrei Kariaka's shot from 18 metres to slip under his body eight minutes before the interval.

Beck scores

[3] But Russia, who defeated Estonia 4-0 in November, let Liechtenstein back into the match just three minutes later when Thomas Beck scored with a stunning free-kick from outside the penalty area.

Malafeyev saves

[4] Liechtenstein belied their lowly position in the group as they pressed after the restart. Russia increasingly went back on the defensive, and the visiting side almost paid the price when Mario Frick had a clear chance in added time, but his shot from six metres when alone in front of goal struck the Russian goalkeeper Viacheslav Malafeev and was cleared.

Slovakia victory

[5] Russia, who are away to Estonia on Wednesday, have ten points from five games, three behind joint leaders Slovakia and Portugal. Slovakia defeated Estonia 2-1 in Tallinn on Saturday. Liechtenstein are next in action away to Estonia on 4 June.

Russia's Vadim Evseev (left) is outjumped by Fabio D'Elia