Russia withstood a late scare against Moldova to tighten their grip on second spot in Group G, goals by Sergei Ignashevich and Artem Dzyuba proving to be enough to secure victory in Chisinau.
After a decidedly quiet first half – with a wayward header from Aleksandr Kokorin in the 17th minute being the only incident of note – Russia emerged from the interval with a newfound vibrancy. Igor Denisov dragged an effort wide of Alexei Koşelev's goal and the goalkeeper then fended off Aleksandr Kokorin's long-range drive on 55 minutes.
Slutski's visitors were handed their due reward for a spell of sustained heavy bombardment seconds later as Ignashevich pounced in the Moldova box. Dmitri Kombarov's free-kick was chested down to Ignashevich by Dzyuba, affording the 36-year-old enough time and space to beat Koşelev with just over half-an-hour remaining.
Dzyuba missed a decent chance after being sent through by substitute Oleg Kuzmin, but the Zenit striker took his tally to eight for the campaign – level with Germany's Thomas Müller in second place in the standings – bundling the ball into an empty net after Ignashevich nodded Kombarov's corner into his path.
While Cebotaru's late header from Vitalie Bordian's swinging corner made the visitors sweat, Russia held firm to ensure that a point against Montenegro at the Otkrytie Arena on Monday will confirm their place in the next summer's finals.
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