Lights go out on Russia in Georgia

Georgia 1 Russia 0

Asatiani, who joined Russian champions Lokomotiv Moscow earlier this season, was left unmarked in front of Russia’s goal in the 11th minute and headed home from close range.

The defeat, coming after Russia’s 3-1 loss in Albania, leaves them in second place with six points from four matches, two behind group leaders Switzerland. Albania are third on five with Ireland and Georgia on four.

The Russians missing first-choice goalkeeper Sergei Ovchinnikov, , had only a few clear scoring chances throughout the match. In the best of them, Sergei Semak missed an open goal after going one-one-one with Georgia keeper Georgi Lomaia in the 16th minute.

Lomaia then made a point-blank save to keep out a header by Russia’s leading scorer Alexander Kerzhakov midway through the second half.

It was a great win for Georgia’s new coach Ivo Susak, who was making his national debut. The Croatian replaced Alexander Chivadze this month.

Yesterday’s match was re-scheduled after the original game was called off at halftime due to floodlight failure last October. It was played amid heavy security following an incident during Georgia’s home qualifier against Ireland on March 29.

UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, initially banned all fans from attending the match but last week reversed its decision and allowed the 11,000 spectators into the Lokomotiv stadium.

GEORGIA: Lomaia; Khizanishvili, Khizaneishvili, Kaladze, Kvirkvelia; Tskitishvili, Nemsadze, Burduli, Asatiani; Demetradze, Ashvetia.

RUSSIA: Mandrykin; Nizhegorodov, Ignashevich, Smertin, Semak; Aldonin, Onopko, Alenichev, Titov; Izmailov, Karayka.

Referee: Wack (Germany).

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