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World Cup qualifying: Late penalty saves Russia blushes against Azerbaijan

Russia's Vladimir Bystrov (R) fights for the ball with Azerbaijan's Maksim Medvedev during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow October 16, 2012.


Roman Shirokov struck a late penalty as Russia laboured to a 1-0 win over Azerbaijan on Tuesday to maintain their 100 per cent record in their World Cup qualifying campaign under Fabio Capello.

The Russians thoroughly dominated the visitors but failed to hit the target until Shirokov calmly converted the 84th-minute spot kick following a foul on Vladimir Bystrov. Video replays showed the foul was committed outside the box.

Russia striker Alexander Kerzhakov, who scored in a 1-0 win over Portugal on the same artificial Luzhniki turf last Friday, came closest to finding the net in the first half but his drive from the edge of the box hit the crossbar in the 30th minute.

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Russia stayed top of Group F on 12 points from four games while Azerbaijan, coached by former Germany boss Berti Vogts, have one point following a 1-1 draw against Israel in last month's opener.

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