Latvia's Rakeļs denies Kazakhstan

Latvia 1-1 Kazakhstan
Deniss Rakeļs hit Latvia's first goal in Group 9 to cancel out Yermek Kuantayev's opener and ensure another draw between the bottom two.

Deniss Rakeļs (left) in action during Latvia's home draw with Kazakhstan
Deniss Rakeļs (left) in action during Latvia's home draw with Kazakhstan ©Roman Koksharov

Deniss Rakeļs hit Latvia's first goal in Group 9 to cancel out Yermek Kuantayev's opening effort for Kazakhstan and earn the home side a deserved point in Jelgava.

After precisely 615 scoreless minutes in this qualification campaign – 75 minutes tonight plus six previous matches – Rakeļs got his team off the mark at last when he sent a gorgeous volley flying into the top corner from Roberts Savaļnieks' cross. Following on from the teams' 0-0 draw in June, the result means both are still without a victory in the section.

Kazakhstan survived a scare early in the match when Eduards Višņakovs put a clear header wide in the 17th minute. However, the visitors then went in front when Kuantayev capitalised on slack home defending with a straightforward finish in the 57th minute. With one game left each, Kazakhstan are two points clear of the bottom-placed Latvians, who have just two points to their name.