|Attempts on target||5||8|
|Attempts off target||5||7|
|Attempts against woodwork||1||0|
|D||Belarus||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
|B||Republic of Ireland||Slovakia|
|B||Russia||Republic of Ireland|
|D||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Belarus|
Roman Shirokov summed up the relief in the Russian camp after Dick Advocaat's team scraped a 1-0 win against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on Friday night.
Russia endured a tough opening first half in which they failed to create any real opportunity of note until Igor Semshov struck four minutes from the interval. It proved to be a decisive blow and sufficient to earn the hosts victory and a two-point lead at the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group B summit.
"I thought we were awful in the first half," said Shirkov. "We just couldn't get our game together. Thankfully for us we managed to get our game together in the second half, especially in midfield and we had chances to extend our lead."
FYROM did have opportunities of their own, the best of which fell to Goran Pandev just a minute before the home side opened the scoring. The SSC Napoli forward failed to convert and was later sent off to complete an unhappy evening. He feels the visitors were unfortunate not to pick up a first ever point against Russia, however.
"I thought we played well today," he said. "We managed to frustrate the Russians for long periods but unfortunately things just didn't go our way. We just didn't have any luck on our side."
Russia now turn their attention to Tuesday's crucial encounter against the Republic of Ireland, whose 0-0 draw with Slovakia ensured both sides slipped off the pace. Ireland now travel to Moscow in the knowledge that victory for either side would put them in the ascendancy with only two qualifiers remaining. Russia captain Andrey Arshavin expects Giovanni Trapattoni's side to present a unique test.
The game against the Republic of Ireland will be a challenge for us," said the Arsenal FC forward. "They are likely to try and bombard our defence with long balls and play a very direct style of football, like they did in the first match we played in October [which Russia won 3-2]. We will have to be ready for this."
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