Pavlyuchenko poaches points
Russia 3 Armenia 1
Published 05/06/2011 | 05:00
A Roman Pavlyuchenko hat-trick saw Russia take all three points from Armenia in their Euro 2012 qualifier at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Pavlyuchenko scored two poacher's efforts and a second-half penalty to send Russia top of Group B.
The match began with the home fans in full song, but they were briefly silenced in the 25th minute, as Marcos Pizzelli beat Igor Akinfeev with a low shot from near the penalty spot.
But they regained their collective voice barely a minute later, as Pavlyuchenko volleyed home an inviting cross by Aleksandr Anyukov from the right wing.
Russia started the second half brightly, and eventually took a deserved lead on 59 minutes. A quick move following a throw-in released Igor Semshov down the left. He then crossed towards Pavlyuchenko, who was afforded the freedom of the Luzhniki Stadium to smash home at the far post.
The goal seemed to spark Armenia into life, and Russia spent the next 10 minutes camped in their own half. But despite their endeavour, Armenia could not muster enough quality to breach the Russian rearguard.
They were made to pay on 73 minutes, when Pavlyuchenko completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot. Following a failed attack by Armenia, Yuri Zhirkov broke clear down the left, only to be body-checked by Sargis Hovsepyan in the box.
There was only going to be one taker, and Pavlyuchenko drove the ball into the right corner to wrap up his personal treble.
And despite some late nervy moments in defence, Russia held on to claim all three points.
Sunday Indo Sport