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World Cup qualifier: Russia beat Israel 3-1 in St Petersburg

Fabio Capello's Russia took a big step towards securing their place at next year's World Cup finals in Brazil after a strong second half show saw off Israel in their Group F clash in St Petersburg.

Goals from Vasili Berezutski, Alexander Kokorin and Denis Glushakov gave the hosts a 3-1 win and restored their single-point lead at the top of the group over key rivals Portugal.

Capello's men now need to take maximum points from their last two games away to group minnows Luxembourg and Azerbaijan next month in order to seal automatic qualification.

The hosts had looked nervous in a tight first period in which solid Israeli defending looked to keep alive their own slim hopes of muscling in on a top two place.

Zenit St Petersburg striker Roman Shirokov came close twice in the early stages on his home ground, but there was frustration among his team-mates as the first half ended goalless.

Russian pressure finally eased five minutes into the second half when lanky defender Berezutski rose highest to head home a Shirokov cross and net the opener.

And Russia had doubled their lead within two minutes after Kokorin steered a right-foot shot into the top corner after being set up by Alexander Samedov.

Russia secured victory in the 74th minute with a third goal but only after Israeli keeper Dudu Aouate had denied Shirokov from the spot.

Awarded a penalty after Eran Zehavi handled Alan Dzagoev's flick in the box, Shirokov saw his shot superbly tipped onto the post by Aouate - only for Glushakov to react fastest and steer the rebound home.

Israel grabbed a consolation for the visitors in injury time when a cross from Ofir Davidadze struck the shoulder of Eran Zehavi and deflected past Russian keeper Igor Akinfeev., September 10, 2013

Russia 3-1 Israel

10th September 2013
Stadion Petrovski - St Petersburg. Attendance: 21500
Referee: Manuel Graefe (GER)
Russia: Igor Akinfeev, Aleksei Kozlov, Vasili Berezutski, Sergei Ignashevich, Dmitri Kombarov, Igor Denisov (c) (Denis Glushakov, 46), Viktor Fayzulin (Alan Dzagoev, 46), Roman Shirokov, Aleksandr Samedov, Aleksandr Kerzhakov, Aleksandr Kokorin (Vladimir Bystrov, 77).
Coach: Fabio Capello (ITA)
Israel: Dudu Aouate (c), Dekel Keinan, Tal Ben Haim, Ofir Davidzada, Sheran Yeini, Gal Alberman (Maharan Radi, 70), Bebras Natcho, Lior Refaelov, Maor Melikson (Hen Ezra, 46), Eran Zahavi, Elyaniv Barda (Etey Shechter, 64).
Coach: Eli Guttman (ISR)
Goals: V. Berezutski 50, Kokorin 52, Glushakov 74, Zahavi 90+3
Booked: D. Kombarov 20, Aouate 36, Ignashevich 38, Davidzada 41

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