Russia maintain 100% record
Late penalty helps Fabio Capello's side beat plucky Azerbaijan
Last Updated: 16/10/12 7:48pm
Roman Shirokov: Scored a late winner from the spot to the relief of Russia
An 84th-minute penalty by Roman Shirokov was enough for Russia to maintain their 100 per cent record in 2014 World Cup qualifying with a 1-0 win over a dogged Azerbaijan in Moscow.
Russia had a perfect record after their opening three games in Group F, leaving them three points ahead of second-placed Portugal, and given Azerbaijan came into the match with just one point from two games a home win appeared to be a reasonable prediction.
However, the visitors proved determined opponents and despite almost total domination, Fabio Capello's side had to wait until six minutes from time to make the breakthrough.
Alexander Kerzhakov had already scored three times in qualification and he had the first real effort for Russia from the left which was comfortably held by Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Agayev.
Dmitri Kombarov curled a free-kick wide signalling the start of Russian domination and it was the same player who came closest to giving the hosts the lead after 25 minutes when his 20-yard shot was tipped over by Agayev.
Sergei Ignashevich headed over from the resulting corner before Russia were then thwarted by the woodwork as Kerzhakov's shot hit the post.
Russia were being frustrated by their visitors whose spoiling tactics were evident in the four yellow cards they were awarded in the first half.
Aleksandr Kokorin volleyed wide and Dennis Glushakov had two shots on goal in quick succession as Russia continued to lay siege to the Azerbaijan goal in the second half.
Agayev then parried Shikorov's close-range attempt and as time wore on a draw appeared a distinct possibility before the hosts were awarded a late penalty following a foul by Ali Gokdemir on Vladimir Bystrov.
Shirokov placed the resulting spot-kick into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal as Russia finally breached the visitors' defence.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Tue 16th Oct - Group F
Russia1 - 0Azerbaijan
Israel3 - 0Luxembourg
Portugal1 - 1N Ireland
Tue 16th Oct - Group I
Belarus2 - 0Georgia
Spain1 - 1France
Tue 16th Oct - Group G
Latvia2 - 0Liechtenstein
Bos & Herz3 - 0Lithuania
Slovakia0 - 1Greece
Tue 16th Oct - Group D
Andorra0 - 1Estonia
Romania1 - 4Holland
Hungary3 - 1Turkey
Tue 16th Oct - Group A
Croatia2 - 0Wales
Macedonia1 - 0Serbia
Belgium2 - 0Scotland
Tue 16th Oct - Group B
Czech Rep0 - 0Bulgaria
Italy3 - 1Denmark
Tue 16th Oct - Group E
Cyprus1 - 3Norway
Iceland0 - 2Switzerland
Albania1 - 0Slovenia
Tue 16th Oct - Group H
Ukraine0 - 1Montenegro
San Marino0 - 2Moldova
Tue 16th Oct - Group C
Faroe Islands1 - 4Rep Ireland
Austria4 - 0Kazakhstan
Germany4 - 4Sweden
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
|1||Bosnia and Herzegovina||10||25|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I