WC Qual - UEFA

November 14, 2009

Full-time

Russia

2 - 1

Slovenia

WC Qual - UEFA

16:00 +00:00, November 14, 2009

Luzhniki Stadium

Referee: Klaus Larsen

  • 94'

    FULL TIME Russia looked to be coasting following two goals from Diniyar Bilyaletdinov but Nejc Pecnik's late goal has set up a real contest in the second leg. Russia will be kicking themselves.

  • 92'

    Two minutes into injury time and Akinfeev has pulled off a world-class save to deny Slovenia! Russia could be drawing this, unthinkable a few minutes ago!

  • 89'

    We are heading into injury time, what a blow this has been for Russia.

  • 87'

    GOAL! After missing a chance just seconds earlier, Pecnik heads in what could be a crucial goal! Akinfeev pulled off a fantastic diving save to deny Robert Koren and Pecnik was there to convert from close range. What a shocker.

  • 87'

    Substitute Nejc Pecnik enojys a rare chance for Slovenia but he snatches at a volley as the ball bounces up for him in the box and his effort flies over the bar.

  • 85'

    On tonight's evidence there is only one side with the invention, skill and ability to grace a World Cup finals, and that is Russia. A 2-0 lead should be enough for Hiddink's side ahead of the second leg on Wednesday.

  • 82'

    Sychev has only been on for a matter of minutes but he becomes the second player to be bookedas he clatters into Radosavljevic.

  • 81'

    Slovenia resort to a hopeful effort from 25 yards that Akinfeev has no trouble with. Russia look like the only side who might score another tonight.

  • 80'

    Pavlyuchenko has enjoyed a promising 80 minutes and that is more than enough for the rusty Spurs striker who is replaced by Dmitri Sychev.

  • 77'

    Slovenia tweak things as Dalibor Stevanovic replaces Birsa.

  • 74'

    Bystrov looks busy and takes advantage of some sloppy defending to burst down the right, but his attempted cross is cut out before reaching Pavlyuchenko.

  • 74'

    Russia will be very happy with this result but a late goal from Slovenia would change the complexion of the tie completely here.

  • 73'

    Russia break quickly once more and Arshavin is only inches away from collecting a clever through-ball in front of goal. That would surely have been 3-0.

  • 72'

    Slovenia appeal for a penalty when there looks to be some shirt-pulling at a corner, but the referee is not convinced.

  • 70'

    The substitute Bystrov, in prolific form for Zenit St Petersburg, beats the offside trap to chase onto a long ball over the top but his attempted chip flies over the bar. Right idea, wrong execution.

  • 69'

    Russia break and the chance looks to have passed when a charging Arshavin is ignored, but Pavlyuchenko is found with a cross and his diving header is saved.

  • 67'

    Zlatko Dedic is replaced by Zlatan Ljubijankic for the visitors.

  • 66'

    Valter Birsa collects possession on the right hand side of the box and looks to have a good angle for a shot, but he opts to send a meek chip into the box and the chance passes.

  • 64'

    Slovenia look frustrated with their inability to break Russia down and Akinfeev has not had a save to make in the second half.

  • 62'

    Igor Denisov gives possesson away with a sloppy pass and Russia are fortunate that Novakovic cannot find a team-mate with his attempted cross. Slovenia win a corner though, which they waste.

  • 61'

    Vladimir Bystrov replaces Sergei Semak for Russia.

  • 60'

    Slovenia only conceded four goals in ten qualifying games, a brilliant record, but they have been undone tonight in Moscow.

  • 58'

    Russia really are knocking the ball about with some style now and the massed ranks of supporters in Moscow are in appreciative mood.

  • 53'

    Well this is not looking good for Slovenia at all now and Bilyaletdinov will be the toast of Moscow tonight if things stay as they are. You have to fancy Russia to nick one on the break as Slovenia have to attack.

  • 51'

    GOAL! Bilyaletdinov adds a second! Pavlyuchenko played a wonderful reverse ball to Arshavin, who put too much on a pull-back for Bilyaletdinov and the chance appeared to have passed. But the ball bounced back into the Everton man's path and he stabbed home.

  • 50'

    Slovenia fail to clear properly from the corner and the ball falls to Zhirkov who sees his low effort deflected away to safety.

  • 49'

    It is Ignashevich who shoots once more and another fierce effort is tipped over the bar by Handanovic.

  • 48'

    Arshavin's dogged persistence wins Russia a free-kick in a central position, some 25 yards from goal. Ignashevich looks to be lining it up.

  • 48'

    Zhirkov drives forward and chips the ball square to Pavlyuchenko, but the Spurs man makes a mess of his volley. That was a golden chance for Russia to extend their lead.

  • 47'

    Russia look determined in the early stages of the second half and are flooding the Slovenia box, to their detriment on one occasion as Arshavin and Pavlyuchenko go for the same header.

  • 46'

    KICK OFF Slovenia get us back underway. It is 1-0 to Russia of course.

  • 45'

    It looks to be an uphill struggle for Slovenia now, but they did sneak past Ukraine to reach Euro 2000 and Romania to reach the World Cup in 2002, so Russia certainly won't be resting on their laurels. We are seconds away from kick-off.

  • 45'

    HALF TIME Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's goal separates the sides in Moscow. Back in 15 minutes!

  • 44'

    Controversy as Arshavin is involved in a clash with Brecko. The Slovenian defender clattered into the Arsenal man, who appeared to push him in the chest. Just a yellow though for Arshavin

  • 43'

    Russia scent blood and after Arshavin collects a lovely crossfield ball, his attempted pass for Zhirkov is only just cut out.

  • 40'

    Miso Brecko attempts an outrageous effort from 30 yards as Slovenia try in vain to find an immediate reply. It is a horrible effort though, well wide.

  • 40'

    GOAL! Diniyar Bilyaletdinov scores with a lovely effort. The Everton man jinks inside Martin Suler with a superb turn and then lashes a shot into the top corner. Brilliant. 1-0 Russia.

  • 39'

    Konstantin Zyryanov attempts to find the head of Roman Pavlyuchenko with an outswinging free-kick from the right but Slovenia clear.

  • 37'

    Alexander Anyukov looks in the mood though as he charges up and down the right flank with typical endeavour. It was a mystery that no big side signed him up after Euro 2008.

  • 35'

    Zhirkov is rushed into making a poor clearance and it would be fair to say that Russia do not look at their best so far today.

  • 33'

    Arshavin produces a clever backheel for Zhirkov on the left wing but the Chelsea man cannot stop the ball from running out of play. Nice idea though.

  • 32'

    Ignashevich shoots from all of 35 yards from a free-kick and Handanovic just manages to deflect the vicious effort wide for a corner. Bilyaletdinov's set-piece is dealt with easily by the visitors.

  • 28'

    This has been far from comfortable for Russia so far with Slovenia sensing a possible weak centre in the home defence. It remains to be seen whether they can exploit it.

  • 26'

    Nervy moments for Akinfeev as he races out to the edge of his box, only to see Zlatko Dedic take possession of the ball. He sneaks a shot through the 'keeper's legs but it lacks the pace to find the net and Russia clear.

  • 24'

    Vladimir Putin has been spotted in the crowd with a Russia scarf draped around his neck. Maybe that will inspire the home side on to a fine win.

  • 22'

    Akinfeev comes confidently off his line to claim a cross from the right flank and distributes quickly. Russia cannot take advantage on the break though.

  • 22'

    Arshavin exhibits excellent close control to jink away from Bostjan Cesar but the ball runs away from the forward and out for a goalkick.

  • 20'

    Russia pepper the Slovenia backline with a series of crosses before Pavlyuchenko attempts to slip a pass through to his North London neighbour Arshavin. He fails though.

  • 17'

    That Zhirkov chance aside, Russia have done little to worry Handanovic and Hiddink may be slightly concerned. They have dominated possession though.

  • 16'

    Now Pavlyuchenko looks to get in on the act and spins quickly to fire a shot well over the bar from 25 yards.

  • 13'

    Yuri Zhirkov embarks on a surging run which takes him deep into the Slovenia box, but his low effort is expertly saved by the outstretched boot of Samir Handanovic. That's why Hiddink has him in the team, it was a brilliant tun.

  • 12'

    Arshavin collects possession in the box but his control is poor for once and Slovenia can clear. It was a good pass from Zyryanov to find the Arsenal man though.

  • 10'

    Slovenia enjoy a really good chance as Novakovic beats the offside trap and bears down on goal. He cuts the ball back to Valter Birsa who sees his shot deflected over Igor Akinfeev's crossbar.

  • 8'

    Millivoje Novakovic is a formidable presence for the Slovakians and his height is posing a problem for the Russia backline. Marko Suler drives a shot wide for the visitors.

  • 5'

    Roman Pavlyuchenko looks full of energy up front and well he should, he has hardly played for Spurs this season. The striker claimed this week that he will be looking to move on in January.

  • 4'

    Russia have dominated possession so far, as you would expect, but Slovenia have been far from overwhelmed in a hostile environment.

  • 3'

    Chelsea's Yuri Zhirkov has seen a lot of the ball in the opening exchanges and his inclusion is something of a surprise given he has not even played in the Premier League yet this season. Everton's Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is also in action.

  • 1'

    KICK OFF Russia get the game underway in front of a partisan home support.

  •  

    We are only seconds away from kick-off at the Luzhniki Stadium as Andrei Arshavin prepares to do the visitors some damage.

  •  

    Slovenia's golden years came under Srecko Katanec when they qualifed for Euro 2000 and the 2002 World Cup. Can they emulate the side of Zlatko Zahovic by seeing off this talented Russian side who so impressed at Euro 2008?

  •  

    The two sides have met on three occasions before (remember, Slovenia have only existed for 18 years). Russia lost and drew to their opponents in the 2002 World Cup qualification campaign.

  •  

    This is of course the first leg of the play-off, with both teams having finished second in their respective groups. Russia trailed in behind Germany after twice losing to Joachim Low's side. Slovenia came second behind Slovakia.

  •  

    Just to put this game in some persective, Slovenia has a population of 2 million while Russia boasts a few more. About 142 million to be precise.

  •  

    Hello and welcome to our live commentary of Russia's World Cup play-off against Slovenia. Guus Hiddink's side are huge favourites but do not underestimate the visitors who have impressed under the rule of Matjaz Kek.

  •  

    Live updates will appear from 3.45pm GMT.