Russia can ill afford a slip-up against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia with the situation exceptionally tight in the battle for UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group B.
• Russia are one of three sides at the top of the section on 13 points going into FYROM's first game since the departure of coach Mirsad Jonuz, whose two-year spell in charge was ended in June following a run of three qualifying defeats.
• That run began with a 1-0 loss against Russia on 12 October. Aleksandr Kerzhakov scored the only goal in Skopje after eight minutes, but Russia had Igor Akinfeev to thank for their third away victory in the section as he saved a second-half penalty from Ilco Naumoski on 72 minutes, Stevica Ristic having earlier hit the bar.
• Russia's record in three games against FYROM reads W3 D0 L0 (W1 D0 L0 at home).
• They first made acquaintances in Skopje on 15 November 2006, when Vladimir Bystrov and Andrey Arshavin registered in a 2-0 success for the visitors. The corresponding fixture in Moscow then ended 3-0, Vasili Berezutski putting Russia ahead before Arshavin and Kerzhakov wrapped up the victory despite Vladimir Gabulov's 70th-minute dismissal.
• Teams from the two nations have met in three two-legged UEFA club competition ties, with the Russian outfits winning two to FYROM's one – FK Vardar's 3-2 aggregate triumph against PFC CSKA Moskva in the 2003/04 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round.
• In terms of individual games, the record for clubs from Russia reads W2 D3 L1 (W2 D0 L1 at home).
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