Russia and Uruguay shared the spoils in Moscow on Friday night in a thoroughly unexceptional friendly that was briefly illuminated by a wonderful Luis Suarez goal.
Dick Advocaat had been hoping for a stern South American test for his injury-hit Russian defence, yet a first-choice Uruguay attack rarely found searching questions. In the end, an Aleksandr Kerzhakov effort was enough to secure the hosts a 1-1 draw.
It was a shame to see Uruguay fail to turn on the flair and fully test Russia’s 22/1 odds of winning Euro 2012 in their first warm up. While Suarez lodged the ball into the net with a majestic strike to Vyacheslav Malafeev’s near post after beating two defenders, a lack of energy and a host of misplaced passes were contending defining features.
The on-loan Arsenal man came close to tormenting Uruguay’s Diego Lugano at times with insightful runs.
The hosts were hardly sensational but will take pleasure from troubling the Uruguay defence on several occasions. Pavel Pogrebnyak proved a handful and strike partner Andrey Arshavin showed the occasional glimpse of his better self that the country has been desperate to see.
The on-loan Arsenal man came close to tormenting Uruguay’s Diego Lugano at times with insightful runs. It was not enough to make Arshavin’s 66/1 odds on being tournament top goalscorer appeal too greatly though, given that the captain failed to register in Russia’s entire qualifying campaign. While Russia’s equalizer came with some fortune – Kerzhakov seizing on a Diego Godin slip to fire home – Advocaat’s side deserved a comforting draw.
Kerzhakov could have added another goal – and had one ruled offside – but Diego Forlan almost added another spectacular strike with just five minutes left.
In avoiding defeat in Moscow, Uruguay now boast 15 matches without a loss – a new record from the small but proud football nation. Their 14/1 odds of winning the 2014 World Cup are looking longer by the day.
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