Euro 2016 qualifying: After Sweden, Russia held again by Moldova
Skipper Alexandru Epureanu`s equaliser earned Moldova a precious 1-1 Euro 2016 qualifier draw against Russia in Moscow on Sunday.
Moscow: Skipper Alexandru Epureanu`s equaliser earned Moldova a precious 1-1 Euro 2016 qualifier draw against Russia in Moscow on Sunday.
Epureanu scored in the 74th minute to cancel out Artem Dzyuba`s opener allowing Moldova to chalk up their first qualifying point in Group G.
Russia, who drew 1-1 with Sweden on Friday, are on five points from three matches, two behind Austria, who beat Montenegro 1-0.
Sweden face Liechtenstein later Sunday.
"We knew that Moldova would play defensive style football," Russia`s manager Fabio Capello said.
"And they did that throughout the match keeping 10 of their players in defence.
"It was hard to penetrate through their barriers and we could have only scored from the spot.
"Unfortunately we conceded a goal at once losing two points at our home ground."
This was Russia`s first meeting with Moldova, the game staged at the newly-built 42,000-seat Otkrytie Arena, a venue for the 2018 World Cup.
Capello was missing a set of first-choice players due to minor injuries following Friday`s match with Sweden.
Villarreal left winger Denis Cheryshev had a chance to put Russia into the lead in the 15th minute but his shot from the corner of the six-yard box went slightly wide off the left post.
Moldova, who sat back from the start and replied with rare and unimpressive counter-attacks, also had a chance to score four minutes before the break but midfielder Aleksandr Gackan`s angled shot failed to find the target.
After the interval Russia continued testing the visitors` defence with midfield duo Denis Glushakov and Alan Dzagoev missing clear opportunities.
Dzyuba finally put Russia ahead with a precise spot-kick in the 73rd minute after Moldovan defenders brought him down in the area.
But Epureanu silenced the home crowd just a minute later when he headed the ball home from the edge of the six-yard box off a well-served corner.
"We wanted very much to achieve a positive result today," Moldova`s manager Alerksandr Curteian said.
"My men`s devotion and fighting spirit helped us a great deal to do that."