Russia fought back to draw 1-1 with South Korea at the World Cup, after a howler from goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
Akinfeev and opposite number Jung Sung-Ryong had endured difficult nights in terms of catching the ball, and it would prove to be to the detriment of Fabio Capello’s side in Cuiaba.
The CSKA Moscow keeper tried to catch a goal-bound effort from substitute Lee Keun-Ho but it bounced off his hands and into the net on 68 minutes to hand Hong Myung-Bo’s men the lead at the Arena Pantanal.
Another sub Aleksandr Kerzhakov then came to Akinfeev’s and Russia’s rescue six minutes later. Tucking away an equaliser just three minutes after coming on, taking advantage of a scramble in the box created by a dangerous ball in from another substitute Alan Dzagoev. It was his 26th goal, which ties him for the nation’s all-time goal-scoring record with Vladimir Beschastnykh.
Russia were more commanding in possession in the early stages, however, too many turnovers saw them susceptible on the counter-attack.
South Korea had the best chance of the opening 25 minutes, when Bayer Leverkusen forward Son Heung-Min went on a run from midfield to the edge of the area, only to spray his shot high and wide under little pressure.
The Russians set out to implement their banal style synonymous to Capello-coached sides, as they tried to pass their way around the Korean defence.
However, Russia began to create chances as they game opened up just after the half-hour mark.
Ki Sung-Yong’s crude challenge on Aleksandr Samedov earned him a yellow card, and Sergei Ignashevich’s powerful effort from the dead ball in the 32nd minute was on target – forcing Korean custodian Jung Sung-Ryong to parry.
South Korea’s response was strong, as Koo’s 34th-minute effort deflected agonisingly wide of the post for the Asian nation.
Russia were the first to attack after the restart, earning a corner in the first minute in the second period, only for captain Vasili Berezutski to head into the side-netting.
The Koreans quickly found their footing, and Berezutski’s opposite skipper Koo almost picked out the top corner in the 50th minute – with Akinfeev swiping the effort clear.
Ki was the next to test the CSKA Moscow man, drilling an on-target strike that bounced in front of him, but Akinfeev was equal to the task – as he was for Yoon Suk-Young’s deflected free-kick moments later, that he dived on before the cavalry arrived.