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Advocaat aiming to push home advantage

RUSSIA coach Dick Advocaat wants his side to use home rule to push towards the Euro 2012 finals.

Ireland, Slovakia and Russia are joint top of the Group B table with 10 points from four games following Saturday's matches which saw Slovakia win 1-0 in Andorra while Russia drew 0-0 away to Armenia.

The group resumes on June 4, when Ireland are away to Macedonia, Slovakia host Andorra while Russia take on Armenia at home in St Petersburg.

The Russians have their next three games at home (Armenia in June, then Macedonia and Ireland in September) and Advocaat wants those matches to count.

"We have five matches left in the group and four are at home, so we have a good chance but we have to do well in those home games," said Advocaat. "I am happy with how things have gone for us but now I want my players to go and get as many points as we can.

"Both teams wanted to win the game on Saturday, we had more chances but sadly we weren't able to score," added Advocaat as he prepared his side for a friendly against Qatar tomorrow.

Slovakia had Filip Sebo to thank for saving their blushes away to Andorra. He scored on 21 minutes but the Slovaks were unable to score again and there was a nervy finish for the side as Óscar Sonejee went close for Andorra with a free kick in added time.

Torres will be fine: Iniesta

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has leapt to the defence of Fernando Torres despite the Chelsea striker extending his goal drought against the Czech Republic on Friday night.

Spain registered a hard-fought 2-1 win in Granada with David Villa grabbing two second-half goals to settle the Group I encounter.

Torres started on the bench but was introduced at half-time as coach Vicente del Bosque increased his attacking options with his team trailing to Jaroslav Plasil's 29th-minute opener.

Torres has failed to score since his £50million move from Liverpool to Chelsea in January and again drew a blank, although Iniesta believes the former Atletico Madrid man contributed in other ways.

He said: "Fernando is doing really well. It's clear that strikers live to score, but he gave us plenty of things which people don't see such as hard work."


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