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Dick Advocaat's side prove impotent in frustrating friendly draw

Csaba Laszlo' men put in a resilient performance as they contained the likes of Andrey Arshavin and Alexander Kerzhakov in a game which they could well have won

By Tom Webber

Lithuania were in impressive form as they held Russia to a 0-0 draw in a friendly match held at Nyon in Switzerland.

The Baltic side proved a match for Dick Advocaat's men on the night with some resolute defending and swift counterattacking play. For the Russians it was their second consecutive draw after their friendly with Uruguay finished 1-1 last Friday and they will have been disappointed at their inability to unlock the Lithuanian defence in the build up to Euro 2012.

The game started at a frenetic pace with both sides hitting the woodwork in the opening two minutes. Firstly, Valdemaras Borovskis' wayward clearance was tipped onto the bar by Ernestus Setskas and then Lithuania would have taken a shock lead but for Igor Akinfeev clawing the ball away from danger via the frame of his goal.

The early pressure did not let up and in the third minute Akinfeev was again called into action. A ball in from the left was controlled by Deivydas Sernas at the back post but the keeper rushed out to smother his effort.

Russia then slowed the pace of the game by retaining possession in the midfield and it was not until the 18th minute that they went close again. Roman Shirokhov threaded a pass to Alexander Kerzhakov through the right-hand channel and the striker rattled the post from an acute angle

Advocaat's side seemed complacent defensively and they invited their opponents forward. Lithuania were therefore creating some decent chances, the best of which fell to Andrius Velicka but he headed narrowly wide from Sernas' cross.

However, the game soon fell into a sluggish rhythm with both teams wasting possession too often. The introduction of Roman Pavlyuchenko and Alan Dzagoev at half-time provided a much needed injection of creativity but once again it was the Baltic side who looked more menacing.

Ramunas Radivicius was spotted in space on the left side and he showed great pace and strength to break into the box under pressure but his left-footed shot sailed narrowly over the top.

Opportunities remained at a premium throughout the second half, though Sernas could have broken the deadlock in the final 15 minutes. Radivicius' drilled free kick was spilled by Akinfeev and with the Lithuania striker streaming in, the keeper turned the follow up behind.

The Russians were being matched by a stubborn defence whenever the ventured forward and with one minute of normal time remaining, Pavlyuchenko volleyed wide despite being unchallenged in the area in what proved to be their last opportunity.

Advocaat's side have just one more friendly in which to offer a positive platform for their Euro 2012 campaign when they face Italy in Zurich on Friday. On the same day Lithuania will take part in the Baltic Cup against Latvia., 29th May 2012

Lithuania 0 vs 0 Russia
International Friendlies
May 29, 2012 Centre sportif de Colovray - Nyon
Referee: M. Bergonzi (Italy)
Attendance: 1000

Lithuania: Ernestas Setkus, Arunas Klimavicius, Vytautas Andriuskevicius (85 min. Egidijus Vaitkunas), Tomas Mikuckis, Valdemar Borovskij, Deividas esnauskis (56 min. Marius Papsys), Saulius Mikoliunas (71 min. Tadas Eliosius), Linas Pilibaitis (64 min. Mindaugas Panka), Gediminas Vicius (49 min. Ram?nas Radavicius), Darvydas Sernas (81 min. Deivydas Matulevicius), Andrius Velicka.
Coach: Csaba Lazslo

Russia: Igor Akinfeev, Alexander Anyukov, Alexey Berezutskiy, Sergey Ignashevich, Andrey Arshavin (), Dmitriy Kombarov (46 min. Yuri Zhirkov), Igor Denisov, Konstantin Zyryanov (46 min. Alan Dzagoev), Roman Shirokov (72 min. Igor Semshov), Marat Izmailov (46 min. Aleksandr Kokorin), Aleksandr Kerzhakov (46 min. Roman Pavlyuchenko).
Coach: Dick Advocaat

Yellow card: 69 min. Tomas Mikuckis.

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