Innsbruck, May 31: Russia’s defensive weakness was on display as the 2018 FIFA World Cup hosts fell 1-0 to Austria, who failed to qualify for the tournament.
Playing their penultimate international friendly before the World Cup, the Russians started brightly in Wednesday night’s match at the Innsbruck’s Tivoli Stadium here. But the momentum shifted to the hosts in the 12th minute with a shot on goal by Robert Zulj in his first match as a starter for Austria.
With Marko Arnautovic taking the lead, the Austrians picked up the pace and started asking questions of the Russian defenders. It was the West Ham United player who set up the only goal of the night, getting the ball to Alessandro Schöpf, who beat Akinfeev to make it 1-0 for Austria in the 28th minute.
Russia will visit Turkey next week for their final friendly before hosting Saudi Arabia in Moscow on June 14 in the World Cup kick-off. IANS