Russia moved to within a point of Denmark, the leaders in UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 2, thanks to a 2-1 win in Estonia.
Estonia had no shortage of chances but were not clinical enough to avoid a fourth defeat of their campaign. Indeed they were facing an uphill struggle after just 20 minutes in Tallinn, Nikita Baranov's own goal and Aleksei Nikitin's effort putting the visitors two up. Though Maksim Gussev soon pulled one back, Martin Reim's team could not find the back of the net for a second time.
Russia's first had come in fortuitous circumstances after only six minutes, Baranov inadvertently deflecting Pavel Mogilevets's low shot from outside the penalty area into the net. Captain Nikitin added a second when he headed in Vladimir Obukhov's corner, but Estonia halved their arrears just two minutes later thanks to Gussev's finish.
"I didn't enjoy my job today!" Russia coach Nikolai Pisarev told UEFA.com. "It was a nervy game and we made it hard for ourselves; we could have been 3-0 or 4-0 up in the first half. The 'football gods' often punish you when that happens. It's a shame we didn't convert many chances because I think we could have won 7-0."
Next up for Russia is a crucial encounter against Denmark on 3 September, when Estonia host Bulgaria.