Russia failed to build on Alan Dzagoev's fine free-kick as a goal from Max Gradel denied them victory in Fabio Capello's first game as national team coach.
The PFC CSKA Moskva playmaker found the target with a sweetly-struck effort on 55 minutes. Abdul Razak then hit a post for the visitors after being played in by Didier Drogba, and while Gradel headed against the upright on 78 minutes, he was able to finish from the rebound.
While CSKA left-back Georgi Schennikov and FC Zenit St Petersburg winger Viktor Fayzulin won their first caps for Russia, another Zenit wide man, Vladimir Bystrov, returned after a lengthy absence and club-mate Igor Denisov was given the captaincy. He marked the occasion by hitting the first shot of the match after four minutes.
Daniel Yeboah's save from Roman Pavlyuchenko's free-kick on 11 minutes ended a frantic opening, and it took until midway through the half for Drogba to produce the next serious chance, the Shanghai Shenhua FC striker hitting the side netting from a promising free-kick.
Aleksandr Anyukov then cut out Yaya Touré's pass before the Zenit defender sustained a head injury in an aerial challenge and had to make way for a third uncapped player, FC Anzhi Makhachkala full-back Arseni Logashov.
Aleksandr Kokorin came on for Pavlyuchenko at the break and succeeded in raising the tempo, before Dzagoev broke the deadlock. Capello then made further changes, bringing Andrey Arshavin on for Dzagoev and Vyacheslav Malafeev on for goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, with Gradel's leveller fair reward for Ivory Coast's dominant performance thereafter.