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Ups and downs

Posted on 3 March 2009  - 12:00

Roman Pavlyuchenko scored for Russia in World Cup qualifying on Saturday and but it was misery in the same group for Welsh pair Gareth Bale and Chris Gunter against Finland.

Ups and downs

Roman Pavlyuchenko scored for Russia in World Cup qualifying on Saturday and but it was misery in the same group for Welsh pair Gareth Bale and Chris Gunter against Finland.

Russia were always comfortable against Azerbaijan and striker 'Pav' opened the scoring via a 25-yard free-kick in the 32nd minute. Zenit midfielder Konstantin Zyryanov grabbed the second as Russia ran out 2-0 winners with Roman substituted after 72 minutes.

That win left Russia in touch with leaders Germany in Group Four but Saturday proved a disaster for Gareth, Chris and Wales' hopes of qualifying.

Gareth admitted beforehand that Wales faced a 'must-win' game against Finland at the Millennium Stadium but were hit by a goal out of nothingby former Charlton striker Jonathan Johansson just before half-time and then a killer second in second half injury time by Shefki Kuqi as Finland won 2-0.

The results leave Wales three points behind second-placed Russia having played a game more.

SPURS PLAYERS IN WORLD CUP ACTION

Benoit Assou-Ekotto played the full 90 minutes as Cameroon kicked-off the third and final phase of African qualifying with a 1-0 defeat against Togo on Saturday.

Robbie Keane captained the Republic of Ireland side as they drew 1-1 against Bulgaria at Croke Park. Richard Dunne put Ireland 1-0 up inside two minutes before Kevin Kilbane put into his own net in the second half. The result meant Ireland slip a couple of points behind Italy in Group Seven but remain clear of Bulgaria.

Alan Hutton was a 73rd-minute substitute on his return to international in Scotland's 3-0 loss against Holland. They are fighting it out with Iceland for second spot in Group Nine - the team meet at Hampden Park on Wednesday.

Adel Taarabt came on in the 57th minute of Morocco's 2-1 defeat against Gabon in the first match of their final round of African qualifying.

Wilson Palacios played a full shift for Honduras in North, Central America and Caribbean qualifying but his side were hit by a last-minute goal from Kenwyne Jones in a 1-1 draw against Trinidad & Tobago. Giovani dos Santos missed Mexico's 2-0 win against Costa Rica. Mexico are now second in the six-team group with Honduras at the bottom in these early stages - the top three go through to South Africa, the fourth-placed team plays-off.

YOUTH INTERNATIONALS

Dorian Dervite played 90 minutes for France Under-21s in Friday's 3-0 friendly win against Estonia. John Bostock also played the full shift as England U17s won their second game out of two against Serbia in UEFA U17 Elite Qualifying on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Jacques Maghoma played in Congo Under-23s 3-0 win against Belgian club side Beveren.