DORTMUND, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Germany retained top spot in
World Cup qualifying Group Four after first-half goals from
Lukas Podolski and Michael Ballack gave them a 2-1 win over
Russia on Saturday.
Podolski opened the scoring when he picked up Miroslav
Klose's pass on the edge of the penalty area in the ninth
minute, hustled his way around defender Vasily Berezutsky and
slammed the ball past Igor Akinfeyev in the Russian goal.
Captain Ballack was in the right place to double Germany's
lead 20 minutes later by side-footing home Bastian
Schweinsteiger's clever cross with Akinfeyev stranded.
Germany came under pressure after the break when Russia's
playmaker Andrei Arshavin stabbed Alexander Anyukov's cross into
an empty net in the 51st minute after a rare mistake by Philipp
Lahm but the visitors failed to find an equaliser.