Switzerland secured top position in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 10 with a hard-earned 2-1 victory away to Russia in Moscow.
Goals in the first half-hour from Alain Nef and striker Daniel Gygax proved enough for the visitors, who held on against determined opponents who had two men sent off in the closing stages.
Defender Nef gave Switzerland the lead in the 16th minute, and the match looked to be all over 12 minutes later when Nef added a second from the penalty spot. However, Russian striker Spartak Gogniev gave the home side hope four minutes before half-time as he halved the deficit.
Russia struggled to get back on level terms throughout the second half in a match they knew they had to win if they were to have any hope of overhauling Switzerland at the top of the section. However, their hopes were damaged by the 80th-minute dismissal of midfield player Dmitri Koudriashov, and the home side ended the match with nine men after forward Roman Pavlyuchenko was also shown a red card a minute from time.
The result meant that Switzerland established an unassailable seven-point lead at the top of the section with 19 points from seven games. The Swiss finish their qualifying campaign at home to the Republic of Ireland on 10 October, while Russia, who will still hope to qualify for the play-offs as one of the six best runners-up, take on Georgia the same night.