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September 03 2005.
World Cup-2006 qualifying game.
Moscow. Lokomotiv stadium. 18123.
Referee: J. Hyytia (Finland).
Russia: Igor Akinfeev, Vasili Berezutsky, Alexei Berezutsky, Sergei Ignashevich, Alexander Anyukov, Alexei Smertin (c), Marat Izmailov, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Andrei Arshavin (Yegor Titov, 75), Alexander Kerzhakov (Dmitry Kirichenko, 82), Roman Pavluchenko (Yevgeny Aldonin, 66).
Head Coach Yuri Syomin.
Liechtenstein: Peter Jehle, Martin Telser, Michael Stocklasa, Fabio D'Elia, Martin Stocklasa (c), Franz-Josef Vogt (Raphael Rohrer, 46), Ronny Buechel, Thomas Beck (Daniel Frick, 85), Mario Frick, Franz Burgmeier, Martin Buechel (Benjamin Fisher, 68).
Head Coach coach Martin Andermatt.
Goals: Alexander Kerzhakov (27, 66).
Yellow Cards: Peter Jehle (3), Fabio D'Elia (17), Franz Burgmeier(70).


Alexander Kerzhakov's double helped Russia overcome spirited Liechtenstein 2-0 in a FIFA World Cup™ Group 3 qualifier on Saturday to keep alive their hopes of reaching next year's finals.

Alexander Kerzhakov

Alexander Kerzhakov.
AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko.


Kerzhakov fired the hosts ahead in the 27th minute, blasting a rebound into the roof of the net following an initial shot by Zenit St Petersburg team-mate Andrei Arshavin.

Striker Kerzhakov doubled the lead midway through the second half after a low cross by another Zenit colleague, Alexander Anyukov.

The win put Russia level with second-placed Slovakia on 18 points from nine matches, two points behind leaders Portugal, who face Luxembourg later on Saturday.

The home team took control from the start, putting the tiny principality under siege. Russia had an excellent chance to go ahead after three minutes when Roman Pavlyuchenko was brought down by Peter Jehle inside the box after going one-on-one with the Liechtenstein keeper.

But Jehle made amends by saving Sergei Ignashevich's penalty. Jehle then kept the Russians at bay with several good saves until Kerzhakov scored from close range.

Liechtenstein rarely ventured past the halfway line in the first half and did not have a single shot on goal until the 62nd minute when Franz Burgmeier tested Igor Akinfeyev with a close-range header.

Burgmeier later had the second shot on goal but Akinfeyev made an easy stop.

Liechtenstein coach Martin Andermatt was satisfied with his team's efforts. "Russia were very strong and it was very difficult for us, especially in the first half," he told reporters.

"But I want to compliment my young team for fighting hard until the end and trying to get a positive result. "

His Russian counterpart Yuri Semin was pleased with his own team and also praised Liechtenstein. "We played a good match and all the players gave their best tonight," said Syomin.

"It wasn't easy because Liechtenstein are a very organised team, so I'm glad we got the three points."

The Russians play hosts to Portugal on Wednesday while the Slovaks travel to Riga to take on Latvia.

Saturday's game marked Russia playmaker Yegor Titov's return to the international scene after an absence of nearly two years. The Spartak Moscow captain, who came on for Arshavin late in the second half, received a one-year doping ban in January 2004 after testing positive for the stimulant bromanthan in a UEFA European Championship play-off against Wales in November 2003.

3 September 2005 by Reuters

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