Turkey holds Russia in the last World Cup warm-up
German Bundesliga side Wolfsburg midfielder Yunus Mallı came off the bench at half-time to cancel out Spartak Moscow right winger Alexander Samedov’s 35th minute opener and deny Russia a first win in eight months.
“The draw seems to be the most fair result though we could have scored more goals today,” Russia’s manager Stanislav Cherchesov said.
“I think we’ve made a qualitative leap ahead by comparison to the match with Austria.”
Turkey, rebuilding after failing to make it into the World Cup finals in Russia, started in a lively fashion seeking an early opener but failed to create any serious threat in the opening quarter-hour.
Russia, spurred by the capacity 30,000 crowd at VTB Arena, CSKA Moscow’s home ground, soon took over the initiative pinning the visitors back but Turkey defended stoutly stifling the hosts’ attacks into poorly targeted crosses.
The hosts broke the deadlock in the 35th minute when they intercepted the ball just outside the visitors area and CSKA playmaker Alan Dzagoev found Samedov in the area and he kept his cool to send the ball into the net with an angled close-range shot. After the break Mircea Lucescu’s side poured forwards in attack in search of an equalizer and Malli pulled the scores level beating Russian ‘keeper Igor Akinfeev with a low shot from 25 yards out just before the hour mark. Krasnodar forward Fyodor Smolov, Russia’s top scorer in 2016-17 and second this year, missed a chance to restore the hosts lead in the 72nd minute when he sent the ball just inches wide of the right post with a 12-yard shot.
“It was a stirring match for the Russian team,” Turkey boss Lucescu said.
“I just felt the pressure in the air ahead of the World Cup start. Meanwhile, for us it was a good experience and I’m happy with the result.”
Russia now has five wins, six draws and nine defeats since Cherchesov took over in August 2016. Russia kick off their World Cup campaign against Saudi Arabia in Group A at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14 and also face Egypt in St Petersburg on June 19 and Uruguay in Volgograd on June 25.