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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ignatiev Marches Russia Past Cyprus


Yury Nikiforov scored twice and set up another as Russia easily beat Cyprus 4-0 on Sunday in Russia's first World Cup qualifying game.

The game, attended by only 8,500 fans, was the Russian team's first official match under Boris Ignatiev as head coach.

Russia always held the upper hand in a match against a much weaker team. Cyprus, having previously drawn against Italy, Belgium and Poland are not a team to drop points against. Its most active player is former Yugoslav forward Sinisha Gogich, who received Cyprus citizenship two years ago.

Russia quickly got off the mark with Nikiforov scoring in the seventh minute. Cyprus only mustered their first attack on the Russian goal in the 27th minute.

Seven minutes later, Nikiforov's pass cut through the heart of the defense to reach Igor Kolyvanov, who slotted it past the Cypriot keeper.

Russia continued to dominate in the second half, and Nikiforov scored Russia's third goal and his second in the 50th minute from 25 yards out.

In the 61st minute, Cyprus had its best chance of the match -- but Sinisha Gogich's attack was saved by goalkeeper Stanislav Cherchesov. In the 82nd minute, Vladimir Beschastnykh fired the fourth from Omari Tetradze's free kick.

"It's always not easy to play against a team that prefers a defensive style," Ignatiev said. "But Nikiforov helped the players to relax. I'm satisfied with the result, because under the current rules we need as many goals as possible." ()