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Russia beat Iraq 2-0 as they played their first international match on home soil since Ukraine invasion

Russia won 2-0 against Iraq in a friendly football match on Sunday, which was their first international game on home soil since November 2021, when they were banned from global competitions following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Anton Miranchuk, who came on as a substitute, scored Russia’s first goal by picking up a rebound from Alexander Sobolev’s low shot, while Sergei Pinyaev scored a stylish second goal by cutting in from the left and squeezing a low shot past the goalkeeper. The 18-year-old winger became Russia’s youngest-ever goalscorer in the process.

In the first half, Russia dominated possession but struggled to convert chances into goals, while Ayman Hussein and Ibrahim Bayesh wasted good opportunities for Iraq. The official attendance at the 68,000-seater Gazprom Arena was 23,818. The stadium was supposed to host the Champions League final last year, but Russia was stripped of the honour.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its men’s football team has only played four matches, all away from home, including a 2-1 win in Kyrgyzstan last September and draws against Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Iran. Danil Fomin had Russia’s best chance in the first half, forcing a great save from Iraq goalkeeper Jalal Hassan Hachim after 36 minutes.

Iraq came closest to scoring on the counter-attack, with Hussein missing from a tight angle and Bayesh seeing his 20-yard shot saved comfortably by Sergei Pesyakov. Pesyakov looked shaky on the ball, almost giving away two goals with loose passes. Miranchuk and Sobolev both had chances to score more goals in the second half, with Sobolev hitting the bar with a header.


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