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Zyryanov gets only goal

Konstantin Zyryanov scores against Liechtenstein

Konstantin Zyryanov scores against Liechtenstein Photo REUTERS

Guus Hiddink's Russia ground out a slender victory over hardworking Liechtenstein despite being run close in Vaduz.

Konstantin Zyryanov scored the game's only goal in the 38th minute, slipping the ball past Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle following a cross from Andrei Arshavin.

Russia struggled to stamp their authority on the game and had to wait until the 26th minute for their first chance when midfielder Dmitri Torbinsky headed awkwardly at Jehle following Arshavin's cross.

Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko had the ball in the net in the 30th minute but was adjudged offside by the Irish officials, and a moment later almost caught out Jehle from long-range, only for his lob to fall narrowly wide of the goal.

But Russian fans breathed a sigh of relief seven minutes before the break when Zyryanov broke the deadlock for the visitors.

Arshavin was the instigator, guiding a ball in from the left to his former Zenit St Petersburg team-mate, who took a touch to bring the ball under control before nicking the ball past Jehle from eight yards.

But Liechtenstein were proving themselves no pushovers and, although creating relatively little, looked capable of causing the Russians problems, with lively midfielder Michele Polverino hitting a succession of long-range efforts towards Igor Akinfeev's goal.

After the restart Pavlyuchenko and Arshavin both had shots straight at Jehle in quick succession as Russia went in search of a killer second goal.

Yuri Zhirkov could have put the game beyond doubt with 10 minutes to play but lobbed just wide of the post after Jehle had beaten Pavlyuchenko to a long ball, whilst Aleksandr Anyukov went down in the Liechtenstein box a moment later but was booked for simulation.

But whilst Russia's lead remained restricted to a single goal the possibility of a Liechtenstein equaliser was always there, and substitute Thomas Beck's long-range strike provided a reminder of the tight-rope Hiddink's men were walking.

Liechtenstein made the final stages very uncomfortable for Russia and Beck went close again in the 83rd minute, striking narrowly wide from the edge of the box, whilst defender Fabio D'Elia, another replacement, forced Akinfeev into a save after heading down from a corner., April 1, 2009

Liechtenstein - Russia - 0:1

Scoring Summary
Liechtenstein: -
Russia: Konstatin Zurianov (38)

Match Information
Stadium: Rheinpark Stadion
Attendance: 5,679
Official(s): David Mckeon (Referee)

1 Peter Jehle
6 Martin Stocklasa
7 Yves Oehri
15 Franz-Josef Vogt
2 Marco Ritzberger
3 Michael Stocklasa
5 Andreas Gerster
18 Michele Polverino
11 Franz Burgmeier
13 Martin Buechel
10 Mario Frick
1 Igor Akinfeev
18 Yuri Zhirkov
2 Aleksandr Aniukov
4 Sergei Ignashevich
5 Vasili Berezutsky
7 Igor Denisov
8 Igor Semshov
16 Dmitri Torbinsky
17 Konstatin Zurianov
9 Roman Pavlyuchenko
10 Andrei Arshavin

Raphael Rohrer for Yves Oehri (46)
Sergei Semak for Dmitri Torbinsky (66)
Fabio D'Elia for Franz-Josef Vogt (61)
Pavel Pogrebniak for Roman Pavlyuchenko (84)
Thomas Beck for Martin Buechel (75)

Yellow Cards
Aleksandr Aniukov (82)

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