Alexandru Epureanu capped a fine individual performance with a goal moments
after Artem Dzyuba had broken the deadlock from the spot.
Artem Dzyuba of Russia rises above Alexandru Epureanu (right)
of Moldova / AFP/Getty Images
Alexandru Epureanu struck moments after Artem Dzyuba had broken the deadlock
from the spot as Moldova claimed their first point of UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying.
The game looked up when Artem Dzyuba gave dominant Russia the lead 17
minutes from time. Instead, the visitors replied with panache, surging
forward and winning a corner. Alexandru Epureanu, excellent at the back
all night, did the rest, spinning away from Sergei Ignashevich to head
Past meetings between Russian and Moldovan clubs had suggested a tight
encounter and so it proved as the game quickly settled on an established
formula. Moldova sat right back, stymieing progress through the middle
and inviting crosses into the box: give it your best shot. The home side
gamely tried, with scant rewards – a more nuanced approach always provided
Alan Dzagoev screwed across goal early on after jinking through, while
it took a pair of superb interventions from the outstretched leg of Epureanu
to deny Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Dzyuba. Moldova were unperturbed, sticking
to their game plan and trying their luck on the break – almost to spectacular
effect before half-time as Ion Jardan escaped on the right and delivered
a delicious ball across the box that somehow evaded everyone.
The siege continued after the restart and, though cracks appeared, Russia
could not squeeze through them. Denis Glushakov, Dzagoev and Dzyuba all
squandered good chances before Victor Golovatenco's tangle with Aleksei
Ionov in the box allowed Dzyuba to set up a grandstand finale.