Russia 0-3 Brazil: Hosts routed as Samba Boys run riot in Moscow
After an evenly contested first-half which saw Russia content to let Brazil have much of the possession, the Brazilians finally broke the deadlock on 53 minutes when Miranda turned home from close range following Igor Akinfeev’s save from Thiago Silva’s header.
Coutinho doubled the Brazilians’ lead soon after, when he converted a penalty after Alexander Golovin bundled over Paulinho. Minutes later, Barcelona man Paulinho scored Brazil’s third when he headed home unmarked at the back post from Willian’s cross.
Russia didn’t let their heads drop and came close to giving their fans something to cheer about on a cold Moscow night, but substitute Anton Zabolotny somehow failed to convert a header from two yards out after the ball ricocheted off the upright when Silva cleared off the line.
The scoreline was comfortable for Brazil but Russia will be disappointed after keeping the five-time World Cup winners comfortably at bay for most of the first half.
Shorn of his first-choice central defenders Viktor Vasin and Georgy Dzhikiya – both of whom will most likely miss this summer’s World Cup with long-term injuries – head coach Stanislav Cherchesov lined up with Rubin's Fyodor Kudryashov and Vladimir Granat, alongside Ilya Kutepov of Spartak Moscow, in a new look Russian defense.
They largely restricted Brazil to half-chances during the opening stages, although Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was called on to save from Gabriel Jesus and also Willian.
Russia went close themselves as their young attacking midfielders Golovin and Alexey Miranchuk linked up well before Roman Zobnin volleyed wide from the edge of the box.
Miranchuk then spurned perhaps the best chance of the half when he fired over when one on one with Brazil keeper Alisson.
Brazil came to life in the second half and three goals in 15 minutes from Miranda, Coutinho and Paulinho ended any hopes Russia had of causing an upset. Ultimately, Russia were left without a win in two games at the new Luzhniki Stadium, while Brazil continue their promising form into the World Cup under Tite.
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