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Russia beats Bulgaria 1-0 in Advocaat's debut

By Dmitry Lovetsky

Russia's Andrey Arshavin, left, fights for the ball with Bulgaria's Chavdar Yankov during the international friendly soccer match in St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)

New Russia coach Dick Advocaat enjoyed a winning debut Wednesday after a close-range volley from Roman Shirokov secured a 1-0 win over Bulgaria in a friendly.

Shirokov scored with an acrobatic volley in the sixth minute after goalkeeper Nikolai Mikhailov fumbled a cross from Andrei Arshavin in the bright sunshine.

Advocaat selected an attacking and experienced lineup for his first game since taking charge in May, opting for three forwards and no newcomers. He had said the Bulgaria game was no time for experimenting, as it was his only warmup match before the start of 2012 European Championship qualifying on Sept. 3. Russia travels to Andorra on Sept. 3 and hosts Slovakia four days later.

The match, which was moved to St. Petersburg's Petrovsky stadium from Moscow because of wildfires around the capital, opened up in the last 30 minutes when both sides squandered clear-cut chances.

Last year, Advocaat ended a successful three-year reign as coach of Zenit St. Petersburg, which plays at Petrovsky stadium. The Dutchman took over as Russia coach from countryman Guus Hiddink in May.

Bulgaria came close on two occasions, with substitute Martin Kamburov glancing a header wide and Dimitar Rangelov's low shot being smothered by goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev.

Arshavin played 80 minutes and showed flashes of skill, turning a defender in the 52nd before shooting straight at Mikhailov, who made a similar save a minute later from second-half substitute Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.

Promising young CSKA forward Alan Dzagoyev danced through the Bulgarian defense in the 73rd, only to be tackled before he could get a shot away. Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko, also on a substitute, slammed the rebound at the goalkeeper.

Pavlyuchenko and Bilyaletdinov had further shots blocked as the visitors tired late on.



Russia: Igor Akinfeyev, Alexander Anyukov (Denis Kolodin, 46), Vasily Berezutsky, Sergei Ignashevich, Yury Zhirkov (Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, 46), Igor Semshov, Roman Shirokov, Konstantin Zyryanov, Pavel Pogrebnyak (Roman Pavlyuchenko, 46), Andrei Arshavin (Dmitry Sychev, 80), Dmitry Torbinsky (Alan Dzagoyev, 70).

Bulgaria: Nikolai Mikhailov, Ilyan Stoyanov, Stanislav Angelov (Stanislav Genchev, 61), Chavdar Yankov (Nikolai Dmitrov, 85), Valery Bozhinov (Dimitar Rangelov, 46), Stanislav Manolin, Zhivko Milanov, Martin Petrov (Ilian Micanski, 76), Ivan Ivanov, Stilian Petrov (Zakhari Sirakov, 89), Ivelin Popov (Martin Kamburov, 55).

Russia 1 - 0 Bulgaria

Shirokov, 6

International Match
11th Aug 2010
Ground: Petrovski Stadium
14000, 11.08.2010

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