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Soccer-Capello delight after slick Russia triumph

Reuters

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By Dmitriy Rogovitskiy

KRASNODAR, Russia, March 5 (Reuters) - Russia showed few signs of rust, even though the majority of their players have been sidelined by the domestic league's winter break, as they secured a 2-0 friendly win over Armenia on Wednesday.

Aleksandr Kokorin missed an early chance to fire the hosts ahead when he was denied by Armenia keeper Roman Berezovski but he made the breakthrough on 21 minutes by turning home Aleksandr Samedov's cross.

Russia were dominant and doubled their lead from the penalty spot two minutes before halftime after Samedov was fouled. Dmitri Kombarov slotted past Berezovski to make it 2-0.

"I am pleased with the way the team looked and I am glad we did not pick up any injuries," coach Fabio Capello told reporters.

"Armenia were aggressive and the game was played at a high tempo which should help the guys get back into the swing of things following the winter break."

The Italian praised Kokorin's fifth goal on his 19th international appearance, a deft touch with the sole of his foot.

"Belissimo. I mean beautiful," said Capello. "It wasn't just a great finish, the build-up play was also excellent."

After an encouraging first 45 minutes Capello made four changes during the interval, introducing Aleksey Kozlov, Igor Denisov, Aleksandr Kerzhakov and Alan Dzagoev in place of Andrei Eshchenko, Yuri Zhirkov, Roman Shirokov and Fayzulin.

Russia quickly hit their stride again after the break with Kombarov just centimetres away from grabbing Russia's third on 50 minutes as his fierce shot went just wide.

Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev had little to do but was finally called into action as Yura Movsisyan went close for Armenia.

Capello's side continue their build-up to the start of the World Cup in June when they take on Slovakia in Kazan on May 26.

Russia have been drawn in Group H along with Belgium, Algeria and South Korea. (Editing by Justin Palmer and Tony Jimenez)

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