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Russia 2-1 Wales

By Peter Shuttleworth

Pavlyuchenko succeeds where Tottenham team-mate Bale failed
Pavlyuchenko succeeds where his Tottenham team-mate Bale failed

Pavel Pogrebnyak's late strike broke Welsh hearts in Moscow as the Russia substitute snatched victory in the Group Four World Cup qualifier.

Wales should have taken the lead after 17 minutes, but Gareth Bale had his penalty saved after he was fouled.

Roman Pavlyuchenko made no mistake with his spot-kick after Konstantin Zyryanov had been brought down by Carl Robinson.

Wales equalised through Joe Ledley's tap-in, before Pogrebnyak slammed in a rebound to claim the points for Russia.

Despite the absence of several key players, Wales made light of an intimidating crowd to come close to grabbing a point in Moscow.

It was Russia's first home game since their Euro 2008 semi-final exploits in Austria and Pavlyuchenko almost gave the crowd something to cheer about as early as the 10th minute.

606: DEBATE
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Tottenham Hotspur's new 14m striker let fly from 25 yards but his effort was deflected over the bar by Wales centre-back Craig Morgan.

Pavlyuchenko got a little closer a few minutes later when he volleyed Aleksandr Anyukov's pin-point cross goalwards and he was superbly denied by goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey soon after.

Despite Russia's domination, Wales - even without the services of the injured Craig Bellamy and Jason Koumas - enjoyed sporadic attacking sorties.

And when burst into the box from Ledley's flick, the Spurs full-back was sent tumbling by Russia skipper Sergei Semak.

The fall was a little theatrical but referee Damir Skomina wasted little time in pointing to the spot.

The 19-year-old dragged himself up off the turf but his left-footed penalty was at a good height for Igor Akinfeev and the Russia stopper made a fairly routine save.

Wales' second spot-kick nightmare in successive matches was punished almost immediately as Pavlyuchenko showed Bale - his new team-mate at Spurs - how it should be done.

Russia's chance to the break the deadlock was down to a comedy of Welsh errors as Morgan's misplaced back-header was naively kept in by Hennessey.

Pavlyuchenko pinched the ball from the keeper and teed up Zyrianov who was clattered to the ground by a clumsy Robinson challenge.

Referee Skomina again pointed to the spot and Pavlyuchenko was coolness personified as he chipped the ball above the despairing dive of Hennessey for his 10th international goal.

Russia unleashed wave upon wave of attacks on a patched-up Welsh defence missing Danny Gabbidon and James Collins, but the visitors just about held the supremely talented Andrei Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko at bay.

The movement of Russia's sublime strike-force was a joy to watch - but the hosts lacked a cutting edge.

Dave Edwards goes past Russia's Igor Semshov
Dave Edwards bursts forward for Wales in the Lokomotiv Stadium
Wales gave Russia a few reminders of their attacking potential as Ledley found space in the box but failed to hit the target from Chris Gunter's deep cross.

Dave Edwards also gave Russia a scare after the break but his header from Gunter's searching cross was just too high.

At the other end, Arshavin was just inches away from adding to Russia's lead, but the Zenit St Petersburg ace could not keep his header from Auyukov's inswinging cross down.

Wales' heroic efforts to stem the Russian tide paid off in the 67th minute as John Toshack's men snatched a shock leveller.

Bale made amends for his earlier penalty blunder by skipping past two Russian defenders to tee-up Ledley who stunned the masses in Moscow as he tapped in the low cross for his second Welsh goal.

Steve Evans created a piece of post-war history when he replaced Edwards in the 77th minute, with the Wrexham defender becoming the first Non League player to represent Wales for 78 years.

Sadly for Wales, the Russian onslaught broke through with 10 minutes remaining as substitute Pogrebnyak saved their blushes.

Gunter allowed Arshavin an inch and Russia's playmaker delivered a tantalising cross which Zyryanov struck to draw a fine save from Hennessey.

But the rebound fell to Pogrebnyak who rammed the ball home to seal a hard-fought Russian victory.


Russia: Akinfeev, Aniukov, Kolodin, Ignashevich, Zhirkov, Zyryanov, Torbinsky (Saenko 59), Semshov, Semak (Pogrebnyak 74), Arshavin, Pavlyuchenko (Bystrov 90).

Subs Not Used: Malafeev, Vasili Berezutsky, Alexei Berezutsky, Yanbaev.

Goals: Pavlyuchenko 22 pen, Pogrebnyak 81.

Wales: Hennessey, Gunter, Morgan, Ashley Williams, Bale, Davies, Fletcher, Robinson (Ricketts 46), Edwards (Steve Evans 77), Ledley, Vokes (Ched Evans 62).

Subs Not Used: Myhill, Stock, Cotterill, Earnshaw.

Goals: Ledley 67.



see also
World Cup qualifying as it happened
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Toshack urges youngsters to learn
10 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Wales Player Rater
28 Mar 07 |  Internationals
Wales 1-0 Azerbaijan
06 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Russia 0-3 Spain
26 Jun 08 |  Euro 2008
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals
International tables
26 Nov 07 |  Tables
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Internationals
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales


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