DUBAI, November 15 (R-Sport) – Russia played out a 1-1 friendly draw with Serbia on Friday as manager Fabio Capello experimented with his lineup ahead of next year’s football World Cup.
A slow-tempo match in Dubai was punctuated with two goals in quick succession in the first half, as Alexander Samedov scored for Russia and Filip Djordjevic put Serbia level seconds later.
Against a Serbia side looking to salvage some pride after failing to reach Brazil 2014, Capello handed starts to some of Russia’s fringe players, with defender Vladimir Granat and winger Alexei Ionov both in the first 11. Full-back Andrei Yeshchenko came on as a substitute for his first Russia appearance since March after returning from a severe knee injury.
Samedov’s goal was the third in 12 Russia appearances for the midfield set-piece specialist and came more by luck than judgment. Samedov found himself in the right place at the right time to put Russia ahead on 30 minutes, meeting a parried Roman Shirokov shot.
Serbia’s equalizer was almost immediate, a Dusan Tadic cross headed across the face of goal by Dusan Basta for Djordjevic to stab into the net.
The rest of the game yielded few chances, except for Russia’s Alexander Kokorin spurning an opportunity to the game on 81 minutes.
The Dynamo Moscow forward rounded Serbia goalkeeper Vladimir Stojkovic but ended up at a narrow angle to the goal and hesitated, missing his chance to shoot for the unguarded net.
Russia face South Korea in Dubai on Tuesday.