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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

2-2 Draw Keeps Russia in the Hunt

APRolan Gusev, center, losing the ball to Chapuisat during Russia's 2-2 draw Saturday.
BASEL, Switzerland -- Russia shrugged off its poor away form as it fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 against Switzerland with the help of a hotly disputed penalty in their Euro 2004 qualifier on Saturday.

In the other Group 10 game, an own-goal two minutes into injury time gave Ireland an absolutely priceless 2-1 home win over Albania.

The results left Switzerland still two points clear at the top, now with nine points. Russia and Ireland both have seven points. All four have played five games.

After a competitive opening spell on a sultry evening, Swiss striker Alexander Frei struck twice with excellent opportunist goals after 14 and 16 minutes to put the hosts in charge.

The Russians had given warning of their attacking intent and a willingness to compete physically for everything, but they were sent reeling by Frei's double strike.

He struck his first goal from 20 meters after following up a shot by the hard-working Hakan Yakin. Goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov fumbled, the ball ran loose and Frei found the net with a clean close-range finish.

The Swiss striker grabbed his second goal to complete a clever, fast move on the left as the ball was moved swiftly from veteran forward Stephane Chapuisat, making his 92nd appearance for Switzerland, inside to Yakin.

The quick-thinking Yakin was immediately under pressure, but flicked another square pass to his right and Frei drove the ball past Ovchinnikov from 15 meters.

Russia responded with a 20-meter shot from Alexei Smertin that flew just wide and then pulled a goal back after 24 minutes when central defender Sergei Ignashevich headed in a free-kick from Igor Yanovsky on the right.

In the second half, the Russians pushed hard for an equalizer and found it when attacking midfielder Igor Yanovsky tangled with midfielder Raphael Wicky and, after some pulling and pushing by both, went down in the area.

After heated protests in which Murat Yakin was cautioned, Ignashevich drove the spot-kick high into the net to equalize after 68 minutes, leaving the Russians to hold out.

They had some close escapes against waves of Swiss attacks, and a few showers of paper plates thrown by the crowd, before the final whistle but they escaped with a draw.

The match ended with Spanish referee Arturo Martin Nieto being jeered and whistled off the pitch.

Ireland, which needed to win to stay in the hunt for a finals place, went ahead through striker Robbie Keane after six minutes, but Albania equalized with an Ervin Skelai goal two minutes later.

The home side continued to press forward without luck until substitute Gary Doherty's last-gasp cross-shot was turned into his own net by Adrian Aliaj.

Elsewhere, midfielder Stelios Giannakopoulos gave Greece a shock 1-0 win against Group 6 leader Spain with a magnificent 20-meter drive just before halftime in Zaragoza on Saturday.

The Greek goal came completely out of the blue as Spain had dominated throughout and was desperately unfortunate not to have taken the lead after manufacturing a host of scoring opportunities early in the first half.

But the goal turned the game on its head and despite seeing their opponents reduced to 10 men with the sending off of defender Stelios Venetidis in the 82nd minute, the Spanish were unable to break down the dogged Greek defense.

It was Spain's first home defeat in a qualifying match since it lost 2-1 to France in a European championship qualifier in Seville in October 1991.

With Ukraine grabbing a 4-3 injury time win over Armenia earlier on Saturday the Greek victory throws the group wide open.

Spain continues to lead on 10 points, but is now just one ahead of both Ukraine and Greece, which meet each other in Athens on Wednesday.

Inaki Saez's side travels to Belfast to play Northern Ireland.

Turkey returned to the top of Group 7 with a 1-0 away win over Slovakia thanks to a first-half volley from Nihat Kahveci.

The Turks, who won their opening three games before being dethroned by a 2-0 defeat in England in April, moved to 12 points from five games.

England, which hosts Slovakia on Wednesday, is second on 10. Slovakia has six. Macedonia, which visits Turkey on Wednesday, has five after a 3-1 win over Liechtenstein on Saturday.

Striker Patrick Kluivert became the Netherlands' all-time leading international marksman when he scored the second goal in his side's 2-0 win over Belarus in Group 3.

Kluivert, who struck in the 68th minute, took his tally to 38, overtaking Arsenal's Dennis Bergkamp.

His Barcelona teammate Marc Overmars broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute, two minutes after coming on as a substitute for Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

The Dutch went top of the group with 13 points from five matches. The Czech Republic is second with 10 points but has a match in hand -- at home to Moldova on Wednesday.

Scotland enjoyed its best result under German coach Berti Vogts as Kenny Miller's second-half equalizer earned it a 1-1 draw with World Cup finalists Germany in Group 5.

Fredi Bobic gave the visitors the lead after 23 minutes, but the Scottish -- managed by the man who led Germany to its third European Championship success in 1996 -- never let their heads drop and Miller's equalizer 20 minutes from time ensured them a merited point.

The result leaves Group 5 still impossible to call. Germany, which visits the Faroe Islands on Wednesday, leads the way with eight points from four games. Scotland also has eight but from five games, while Lithuania, which hosts Iceland on Wednesday, has seven from five.