MOSCOW, August 15 (RIA Novosti)
A header from former Leeds United midfielder Max Gradel prevented a winning start to Fabio Capello’s reign as Russia coach as Russia drew 1-1 with the Ivory Coast in Moscow on Wednesday.
Capello left Andrei Arshavin, Russia captain for the last three years, on the bench and the Arsenal midfielder was not given the captain’s armband by Igor Denisov when he came on as a second-half substitute to whistles from the crowd.
Dzagoev scored three goals at Euro 2012 and continued his impressive run for Russia when he opened the scoring on 55 minutes, drilling a low and powerful 20-yard free-kick into the far corner of Daniel Yeboah’s goal.
St. Etienne striker Gradel equalized on 77 minutes, first heading the ball onto the before heading in the rebound, leaving debutant Russia defender Georgy Shchennikov watching helplessly.
Ivory Coast captain Didier Drogba could have put his team ahead on seven minutes when he shot from a tight angle after rushing towards the Russian goal but goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev stopped his effort.
Russia earned a dangerous free-kick just three minutes later after a foul on former Tottenham forward Roman Pavlyuchenko, who took the set piece and forced a save from Yeboah with a low strike.
Drogba then went close with a free-kick on 22 minutes in one of the few clear-cut chances in the game.
Arshavin, who was unpopular after criticizing Russia’s fans in the wake of the country’s Euro 2012 exit, had a chance to silence the jeers from the crowd with a goal on 69 minutes, but fired the ball over the bar.
Ivory Coast: Yeboah, Eboue (Gosso 84), Tiene, Kolo Toure (Sagbo 90), Bamba, Zokora, Yaya Toure, Razak (Ya Konan 69), Kader Keita, Drogba, Gradel.
Russia: Akinfeev (Malafeev 59), Anyukov (Logashov 30), Ignashevich, Vasily Berezutsky, Shchennikov, Denisov, Dzagoev (Arshavin 59), Glushakov, Faizulin, Bystrov (Samedov 74), Pavlyuchenko (Kokorin 46).
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