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Russia edge top of group

Russia moved top of Euro 2012 qualifying Group B with the narrowest of victories over a hardworking FYR Macedonia at Stadium Skopje.

Alexander Kerzhakov put the visitors ahead after just eight minutes and that proved to be the only goal of a game they had been expected to win with more ease.

As it was the home fans should have been celebrating a share of the spoils but Ilco Naumoski was unable to covert a 73rd minute penalty.

Alan Dzagoev had the first chance of the game, chancing his arm with a long-range free-kick that nestled safely in Edin Nuredinovski's arms.

Kerzhakov broke the deadlock five minutes later, collecting Igor Denisov's pass and smashing the ball high into the net.

Nuredinovski recovered quickly from that setback to palm away a Yuri Zhirkov shot two minutes later and stood firm to save an Aleksandr Aniukov free-kick after quarter of an hour.

By now the home keeper was becoming quite a thorn in Russia's side, Dzagoev seeing a well-hit effort parried wide before Roman Shirokov and Andrey Arshavin joined the list of players denied by the 28-year-old.

Macedonia came to life with two attempts on goal in as many minutes at the start of the second half, Mario Gjurovski shooting wide from the left of the area and Nikolce Noveski missing the target with his header.

Buoyed by their increased possession, Macedonia became braver and spent the next five minutes camped around the Russia penalty box where defender Sergei Ignashevich twice cleared shots on goal.

The pressure almost told on the hour mark when Stevica Ristic headed against the bar.

Ignashevich then hauled down Naumoski for the penalty, with Igor Akinfeev protecting the points for Russia by saving the resulting spot-kick., October 13, 2010

Macedonia 0 - 1 Russia

Scoring Summary
Macedonia: Ilco Naumoski (pen miss 73)
Russia: Alexander Kerzhakov (8)

Match Information
Stadium: City Stadium Skopje
Attendance: 17,000
Match Time: October 12, 2010, 19:30 BST
Referee Stefan Johannesson

Macedonia Russia
1 Edin Nuredinovski (G)
1 Igor Akinfeev (G)
5 Igor Mitreski (D) 4 Sergei Ignashevich (D)
2 Vance Sikov (D) 3 Vasili Berezutsky (D)
4 Nikolce Noveski (D) 2 Aleksandr Aniukov (D)
18 Alexander Lazevski (D) 5 Yuri Zhirkov (D)
8 Velice Sumulikoski (M) 8 Konstatin Zurianov (M)
13 Filip Despotovski (M) 7 Igor Denisov (M)
10 Mario Djurovski (M) 6 Roman Shirokov (M)
11 Ilco Naumoski (F) 11 Alan Dzagoev (M)
7 Ivan Trickovski (F) 10 Andrei Arshavin (F)
19 Agim Ibraimi (F) 9 Alexander Kerzhakov (F)
12 Martin Bogatinov (G)
12 Vladimir Gabulov (G)
15 Boban Grncarov (D) 14 Alexei Berezutsky (D)
14 Vlade Lazarevski (D) 15 Igor Semshov (M)
17 Aleksanar Todorovski (D) 18 Diniyar Bilyaletdinov(M)
6 Slavco Georgievski (M) 17 Vladimir Bystrov (M)
16 Armend Alimi (M) 16 Pavel Pogrebniak (F)
9 Stevica Ristic (F) 19 Alexander Bukharov (F)
Stevica Ristic for Agim Ibraimi (49)
Alexei Berezutsky for Alan Dzagoev (62)
Slavco Georgievski for Filip Despotovski (76)
Pavel Pogrebniak for Alexander Kerzhakov (78)
Armend Alimi for Mario Djurovski (79)
Vladimir Bystrov for Andrei Arshavin (81)
Yellow Cards
Nikolce Noveski (22)
Konstatin Zurianov (50)
Vance Sikov (35) Aleksandr Aniukov (57)
  Sergei Ignashevich (73)

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