Russia missed the chance to retake the Group 6 lead after being held to a goalless draw at home to Albania.
As expected, Russia dominated from the off, but the visitors defended stoutly. Shota Bibilov had the first clear opening for the hosts but was denied by a smart diving save from Albania captain Stivi Frasheri. The goalkeeper made a string of important stops during the game, beating away a powerful Bibilov free-kick midway through the second half.
With 15 minutes remaining Frasheri again came to his team's rescue, repelling a Fedor Smolov shot. Russia could not break through and it means they sit a point behind Portugal in the section, though they do have a game in hand. Albania remain fourth.