Russia scrapes 2-1 win over Hungary in friendly
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — Russia ground out a 2-1 win over Hungary in a friendly on Tuesday, a welcome result for the visitors’ under-pressure coach Fabio Capello.
Center-back Sergei Ignashevich gave Russia a 49th-minute lead, heading in a corner from Alexander Samedov after the Hungary defenders failed to pick up his movement.
Alexander Kerzhakov slotted in Russia’s second in the 80th minute off a through ball from Alan Dzagoev.
Hungary pulled one back six minutes later when Nemanja Nikolic found space on the edge of the box and shot past Yuri Lodygin.
Capello has come in for widespread criticism in the Russian media in the wake of the team’s poor form, with one win in its last eight competitive matches.
The Italian has also gone unpaid for around six months due to financial problems at the Russian Football Union and has said he is losing patience with the situation.
Rumors Capello could be fired abated Tuesday when Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told Russian media that planned “personnel changes” at the RFU did not include the head coach.
For the Hungary game, Capello made eight changes to the starting lineup that lost 1-0 to Austria on Saturday, a result that left Russia third in Euro 2016 qualifying Group G.
Playing at a faster tempo than on Saturday, Russia had the better of the game, going close through striker Artyom Dzyuba on 38 minutes.
Just over a minute before his goal, substitute Kerzhakov hit the bar with a curling free-kick from distance, before Russia held on for its first away win in 13 months.