MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti)
MOSCOW, October 12 (RIA Novosti) - Alexander Kerzhakov's sixth-minute strike proved enough to give Russia a 1-0 home win over Portugal in a hard-fought World Cup qualifier in Moscow on Friday.
The win puts Russia clear at the top of Group F by three points from Portugal, ahead of games Tuesday for both teams.
Fabio Capello continued his 100 percent record in competitive fixtures as Russia coach with a win over a country who thrashed Russia 7-1 in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, a low point in Russian football history.
Alexander Kerzhakov scored for Russia with the game's first shot, taking advantage of a large hole in the Portuguese defense to latch onto Roman Shirokov's through-ball and fire the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
Portugal struggled to find their way back into the game despite enjoying almost twice as much possession as Russia, and created few chances from open play in the face of a tenacious display from the hosts, especially in midfield.
Luxermbourg host Israel later Friday in the only other match in Group F.
On Tuesday, Russia play Azerbaijan while Portugal welcome Northern Ireland.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.