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Moldova hold off Russia to earn point in Moscow

Russia 1-1 Moldova
Alexandru Epureanu capped a fine individual performance with a goal moments after Artem Dzyuba had broken the deadlock from the spot.

Highlights: Russia v Moldova

Moldova get off the mark in Group G at the third attempt
Russia fall two points behind Austria after second 1-1 draw in four days
Defender Alexandru Epureanu scores eighth international goal
Next games: Austria v Russia, Moldova v Liechtenstein (15 November)

Alexandru Epureanu struck moments after Artem Dzyuba had broken the deadlock from the spot as Moldova claimed their first point of UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying.

The game looked up when Artem Dzyuba gave dominant Russia the lead 17 minutes from time. Instead, the visitors replied with panache, surging forward and winning a corner. Alexandru Epureanu, excellent at the back all night, did the rest, spinning away from Sergei Ignashevich to head in.

Past meetings between Russian and Moldovan clubs had suggested a tight encounter and so it proved as the game quickly settled on an established formula. Moldova sat right back, stymieing progress through the middle and inviting crosses into the box: give it your best shot. The home side gamely tried, with scant rewards – a more nuanced approach always provided more threat.

Alan Dzagoev screwed across goal early on after jinking through, while it took a pair of superb interventions from the outstretched leg of Epureanu to deny Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Dzyuba. Moldova were unperturbed, sticking to their game plan and trying their luck on the break – almost to spectacular effect before half-time as Ion Jardan escaped on the right and delivered a delicious ball across the box that somehow evaded everyone.

The siege continued after the restart and, though cracks appeared, Russia could not squeeze through them. Denis Glushakov, Dzagoev and Dzyuba all squandered good chances before Victor Golovatenco's tangle with Aleksei Ionov in the box allowed Dzyuba to set up a grandstand finale.

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