Senin, 19 November 2012

Russia 2-2 USA: Capello's men denied by Diskerud

Mikkel Diskerud's stoppage-time equaliser rescued a 2-2 draw for a makeshift USA side as they fought back twice against Russia.

Roman Shirokov looked to have secured the victory for the home side when he converted a penalty with seven minutes from time, but Fabio Capello's side could not hold on to extend their four-game winning run.

Fyodor Smolov had earlier marked his maiden appearance for the national team with a goal but Michael Bradley equalised with a stunning volley.

Jurgen Klinsmann's team had goalkeeper Tim Howard to thank as the veteran made a number of crucial saves to keep his side in the game.

Russia forced a number of early corners and were rewarded for their dominance when the visitors gave the ball away midway inside their own half from a free kick and debutant Smolov took advantage to slot past Howard, though the winger suffered an injury in the process of scoring and was substituted soon af ter.

Capello's side were showing the form that has seen them pick up maximum points from their 2014 World Cup qualifying matches, and Maksim Grigorjev saw his shot well blocked by Geoff Cameron after neat interplay with Aleksandr Kerzhakov.

USA were struggling to have any time on the ball, but they almost equalised against the run of play as defender Clarence Goodsen shot straight at Vladimir Gabulov from the edge of the area after Danny Williams' touch.

Smolov's replacement Grigorjev was a constant threat for the home side and he almost doubled their lead with a first-time shot that was well held by Howard, following Williams' poor touch on the edge of his own box.

Roma's Bradley was attempting to pull the strings for Klinsmann's outfit and he created a chance for Herculez Gomez, but the latter's flicked header was punched away by Gabulov, though the goalkeeper didn't know much about it.

The visitors continued to grow i nto the game as half-time approached and the returning Jozy Altidore threatened for the first time with a powerful shot from distance that flew just over the bar.

Molde winger Joshua Gatt was lively on his debut, and he almost marked his first cap with a goal at the start of the second period as Jermaine Jones broke from midfield and the youngster curled a shot straight at Gabulov, who caught the effort well.

That didn't deter the Sbornaya and they almost doubled their lead as Aleksandr Kokorin forced Howard into a smart save low to his right with a powerful effort from just outside the penalty area.

With Kerzhakov substituted at the break, Kokorin was playing much more centrally, and he broke through the USA defence well and looked to have won a penalty after being tripped by Howard, but replays showed that Italian referee Nicola Rizzoli was right to book the attacker for a dive.

Alan Dzagoev was the man who repl aced Kerzhakov and his trickery created another opportunity for Kokorin, but he fired over from distance after coming under pressure from the opposition's defenders.

Dzagoev was a constant threat after his introduction, and he was again involved in the final third as he headed fellow substitute Renat Yanbayev's cross straight at Howard after getting in front of his marker.

Kokorin continued his quest for a goal as he brought the ball onto his favoured right foot around 25 yards from goal but his weak shot was simple for Howard to deal with.

Defender Yanbayev looked to get forward at every opportunity, and after exchanging passes with Denis Glushakov, his shot was parried by Howard, with the Everton goalkeeper having to recover quickly to tip over Dzagoev's dipping effort from the rebound.

Despite being on the back foot for much of the game, Altidore had a glorious opportunity to equalise but he failed to control Fabian Johnson's th rough ball when one-on-one with Gabulov.

With 20 minutes remaining of the match Klinsmann's team began to push for an equaliser and they almost got it as Bradley met Sacha Kljestan's knock down with a diving header, but he could only direct it over the crossbar.

It didn't take Bradley long to be involved again, though, and he made no mistake this time as he met Juan Agudelo's header with a sweet volley from 20 yards that cannoned in off the post.

The United States now looked more likely to grab a winning goal and Jones almost provided the crucial strike but he could only fire over from Altidore's low cross across the edge of the area.

The home side then delivered a sucker punch as the visitors' defence were caught out by a quick free kick and Goodsen brought down Artem Dzuba inside the six-yard box, allowing Shirokov to send Howard the wrong way from the spot.

Real Madrid youngster Denis Cheryshev almost made the game safe as he found space inside the box but was denied by Howard's legs. Then, with the game deep into added on time, substitute Diskerud latched onto a weak defensive header and saw his scuffed effort bobble past the despairing Gabulov.

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