MOSCOW (AP) — A flurry of second-half goals earned Russia a 3-1 victory over Israel and top spot in World Cup qualifying Group F on Tuesday.
Also in Group F, Luxembourg scored the first victory of its qualifying campaign by coming back to beat Northern Ireland 3-2.
Goals from defender Vasiliy Berezutsky, striker Aleksandr Kokorin and midfielder Denis Glushakov turned the game Russia's way, while Eran Zahavi nodded in a consolation goal for Israel in injury time.
Russia dominated the first half but could not penetrate a well-organized Israel defense. Zenit St. Petersburg striker Alexander Kerzhakov came closest to scoring one minute before the break, but his shot from a narrow angle was blocked by Dudu Aouate.
Russia coach Fabio Capello made two substitutions at halftime and the home side soon made the breakthrough.
"I wanted to speed up our game in the center of the pitch," Capello said. "We were in control of the ball in the first half but we were not quick enough to create chances."
Berezutsky opened the scoring from inside the box in the 50th minute. Kokorin doubled the lead two minutes later when he latched onto Aleksandr Samedov's cross from the right and fired into the top left corner of the net from 18 meters.
Russia continued to dominate and had several more opportunities before a handball in the area by Zahavi in the 74th. Roman Shirokov hit the right post from the penalty spot but Denis Glushakov was first to snap up the rebound and fire into an empty net.
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