Jonathan Kodjia and Wilfried Zaha scored stunning goals as the Ivory Coast beat Russia 2-0 in Krasnodar on Friday, a result that raised the alarm bells for the World Cup hosts. Aston Villa striker Kodjia produced a forceful strike after shrugging his way past the home defence to open the scoring on the half hour and Crystal Palace's Zaha dribbled past three defenders before finishing with his left foot to double the lead on 70 minutes. The Ivorians, with a caretaker coach and playing their first match since their disappointingly early elimination at the African Nations Cup finals in January, made light work of Russia, who will host the World Cup finals next year.
Wales defender Neil Taylor was in tears after the horror tackle that left Seamus Coleman with a double break of his right leg, according to Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long. The 0-0 World Cup qualifying draw in Dublin was marred by Ireland captain Coleman receiving oxygen and leaving the field on a stretcher after a wild lung from Taylor, who was sent off for the 69th-minute challenge. Long cradled his team-mates' head as he received attention on the field and paid tribute to a popular and long-serving member of Martin O'Neil's squad.
Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce has confirmed interest in retaining Manchester United goalkeeper Sam Johnstone beyond the end of the current campaign. The 24-year-old has spent the last eight years at Manchester United but is yet to make a competitive appearance for the first-team.