Russia walked away with a 4-1 victory in Kazan today over Group F minnows Luxembourg. Three players, all named Aleksandr made it onto the scoresheet today scoring four goals between them. Dynamo Moscow man Aleksandr Kokorin struck early and late in the first half before Zenit's Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Lokomotiv's Aleksandr Samedov finished off the match in the last half hour.
The win put Russia at 15 points, only two behind Portugal who remain on top after a dramatic 4-2 win over Northern Ireland. Russia however have a game in hand and will overtake their Iberian rivals with victories in their three remaining matches.
The hosts started the match on the attack as Kokorin picked up the ball and lobbed the keeper just outside the box. The visitors then began to gain momentum but Russia stood firm and doubled the score. Dmitri Kombarov delivered the free kick to Kokorin who in turn headed over the keeper once again.
After the break the hosts once again started with all guns blazing and soon found themselves with another set piece. Kombarov again did the honors, placing the inswinging delivery to Sergei Ignashevich who pipped into the path of Aleksandr Kerzhakov.
The next thirty minutes were largely uneventful but in the final minute, Russia were stunned when an attack by Luxembourg led to scramble in the box as Aurelien Joachim slipped the ball past Igor Akinfeev.
However, the hosts added a fourth when Vladimir Bystrov laid the ball down for Aleksandr Samedov to slot in and put the game away.
Russia (4-2-3-1): Akinfeev, Kozlov, Ignashevich, Granat, Kombarov, Denisov, Bystrov (Samedov, 68'), Shirokov (Ryazantzev, 82'), Fayzulin, Kerzhakov, Kokorin (Ionov, 46')
Goals: Kokorin (1', 36'), Kerzhakov (60'), Samedov (90')
Luxembourg (4-2-3-1): Joubert, Janisch, Gerson (Peters, 66'), Philipps, Laterza, Trupel (Bastos, 60'), Payal, Jans, Joachim, Bensi (Luisi, 60'), Da Mota
Goals: Joachim (90')