Dick Advocaat's side prove impotent in frustrating friendly
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'
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
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
Lithuania 0 vs 0 Russia
May 29, 2012 Centre sportif de Colovray - Nyon
Referee: M. Bergonzi (Italy)
Lithuania: Ernestas Setkus, Arunas Klimavicius, Vytautas Andriuskevicius
(85 min. Egidijus Vaitkunas), Tomas Mikuckis, Valdemar Borovskij, Deividas
Ñesnauskis (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),
Coach: Csaba Lazslo
Russia: Igor Akinfeev, Alexander Anyukov, Alexey Berezutskiy, Sergey Ignashevich,
Andrey Arshavin (ñ), 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