Artem Dzyuba scored twice to give Russia a 2-1 win over Slovenia in front of 15,000 fans in Sochi’s Fisht Stadium on Saturday, putting the home side top of their World Cup qualifying group after two games.
Russia dominated the opening stages of the game and though Slovenia goalkeeper Jan Oblak did his best to keep them at bay, Dzyuba opened the scoring with a side-footed finish after midfielder Daler Kuzyayev set him up in the box.
Dzyuba added a second nine minutes later when he chested down a rebound off the crossbar, shrugged off two defenders and beat Oblak with a clinical finish.
However, their two-goal advantage and the home crowd’s roars lasted only a minute as Slovenia forward Josip Ilicic fired in a powerful shot from range without even looking up to see where Anton Shunin was in Russia’s goal.
Slovenia were unable to find an equaliser, however, with danger man Ilicic well-marked in the box as Russia held on to seal back-to-back wins in the qualifiers.
Russia, who have six points, play Slovakia away next, while Slovenia play Cyprus, with both games to be played on Tuesday.