Kerzhakov scores twice
Alexander Kerzhakov is mobbed by teammates.
Photo OlivierMorin / GettyImages
Alexsandr Kerzhakov returned from the international wilderness
to fire Russia to a comprehensive Group Four victory in a World Cup qualifier.
The Dynamo Moscow striker had been out of the national team picture for
over a year until his recent recall and he grasped his opportunity with
goals either side of half-time against a tepid Finland outfit before Konstantin
Zyryanov added a third 20 minutes from time.
Russia began positively and had an early chance 10 minutes in when Toni
Kallio halted Vladimir Bystrov's run down the right illegally. Andrey
Arshavin took the resulting free-kick only for Kerzhakov to head over.
With the half-hour mark approaching Arshavin found Zyryanov inside the
area and he managed to impressively round Finland keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen,
cutting the ball back only for Kerzhakov to blast over horribly.
Two minutes later Guus Hiddink's side made the breakthrough, however.
Defender Sergei Ignashevich hit a low, long ball forward which Arshavin
diverted towards Kerzhakov.
The former Sevilla striker raced clear of the central defenders to round
Jaaskelainen and roll the ball home with ease to celebrate his return
to the international fold.
Finland had a rare opportunity in the 39th minute when veteran forward
Jari Litmanen flicked the ball onto Jonatan Johansson but the former Charlton
striker's volley was straight at goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, who parried
the ball away.
Russia were denied a penalty in added time when Arshavin's shot appeared
to hit Hannu Tihinen's arm but referee Konrad Plautz refused the visitors'
The second half began in similar fashion and Russia got their deserved
second after 53 minutes with Kerzhakov again the scorer.
Vladimir Bystrov received the ball from Igor Semshov before beating Sami
Hyypia and darting into the area. His powerful shot was saved by Jaaskelainen
but only into Kerzhakov's path as the striker stabbed home before wheeling
away in delight.
The win was rubber-stamped with 19 minutes left as Zyryanov broke down
the left before cutting inside, beating Hyypia and rifling home impressively
from eight yards.
Finland had a chance when Roman Eremenko tried his luck with a powerful
low shot which was fumbled into Mikael Forssell's path, only for the striker
to see his shot blocked.
Hyypia's torrid evening continued in the last 10 minutes when his misjudgment
allowed Roman Pavlyuchenko a chance but the substitute scuffed wide.
June 10, 2009
Finland - Russia - 0:3
Alexander Kerzhakov (27),
Alexander Kerzhakov (53)
Konstatin Zurianov (71)
Stadium: Olympiastadion, Helsinki
Official(s): Konrad Plautz (Referee)
1 Jussi Jaaskelainen
2 Petri Pasanen
5 Hannu Tihinen
4 Sami Hyypia
3 Toni Kallio
10 Jari Litmanen
15 Markus Heikkinen
7 Roman Eremenko
16 Jonatan Johansson
9 Mikael Forssell
6 Aleksei Eremenko
1 Igor Akinfeev
5 Vasili Berezutsky
4 Sergei Ignashevich
18 Yuri Zhirkov
3 Denis Kolodin
17 Konstatin Zurianov
8 Igor Semshov
10 Andrei Arshavin
15 Vladimir Bystrov
7 Igor Denisov
16 Alexander Kerzhakov
Niklas Moisander for Toni Kallio (53)
Roman Pavlyuchenko for Alexander Kerzhakov (67)
Joonas Kolkka for Aleksei Eremenko (61)
Sergei Semak for Vladimir Bystrov (77)
Teemu Tainio for Jari Litmanen (68)
Toni Kallio (9)
Hannu Tihinen (40)