pogrebnyak shines for russia
Ireland's Group B rivals Russia opened their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a low-key 2-0 victory over Andorra thanks to a brace from Pavel Pogrebnyak.
Pogrebnyak fired the visitors ahead in the 14th minute, slotting past Andorra 'keeper Josep Gomes from close range after a fine feed by Russia captain Andrey Arshavin.
The VfB Stuttgart striker added a second with a 65th-minute penalty after a foul on Russian substitute Alan Dzagoyev.
Russia, under new coach Dick Advocaat, looked unconvincing, wasting numerous chances against a semi-professional side, ranked 201st by FIFA. Advocaat, however, was satisfied with the team's performance.
"It wasn't too bad," said the Dutchman, who succeeded compatriot Guus Hiddink in May after Russia failed to qualify for this year's World Cup..
"But we must definitely improve in our next match against Slovakia." The Russians host Slovakia in Moscow on Tuesday.