MOSCOW, September 7 (RIA Novosti)
Northern Ireland's tactics worked well in their 2-0 World Cup qualifying defeat to Russia but the team let themselves down by being wasteful with the ball, captain Steven Davis told R-Sport after Friday's game.
A first-half goal from Viktor Faizulin and a late penalty from Roman Shirokov gave Russia the win in a match that was the first competitive fixture for both Russia coach Fabio Capello and Northern Ireland's Michael O'Neill.
"I'd agree with that," Davis said when asked whether Northern Ireland had been wasteful.
"We didn't pass the ball as well as we would have liked or keep possession as we would have liked. It's difficult when we were so deep in getting on the ball."
Despite the defeat, O'Neill's tactics were spot-on, Davis said.
"They had large spells of possession but within that I think we restricted them to limited chances on goal," he said.
"I don't think [goalkeeper] Roy [Carroll] had many saves to make in normal play, so from that aspect, that was the gameplan, come here and try and restrict them as much as possible. We managed to do that."
Northern Ireland's next match is another World Cup qualifier at home to Luxembourg on Tuesday, and Davis said the team remained confident of victory.
"We're at home against a team that's seeded lower than us, so it's a game we'll be looking to win and I'm sure we'll try our best to go and do that," he said.
Southampton midfielder Davis, 27, has 51 caps for Northern Ireland and has scored four times for his country.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).