Alexander Kerzhakov in a 1-1 dra

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lw789
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Alexander Kerzhakov in a 1-1 dra

Post by lw789 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:59 am

CUIABA, Brazil -- Blundering Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev was bailed out by teammate Alexander Kerzhakov in a 1-1 draw with South Korea in the World Cup on Tuesday that exposed both teams deficiencies. Akinfeev had already looked suspect in dealing with long-range shots before spilling Lee Keun-hos speculative effort into his own net in the 68th minute, gifting South Korea the lead at the Arena Pantanal. Kerzhakov, though, came to Akinfeevs rescue by turning in a shot from close range six minutes later -- just three minutes after coming on as a substitute -- to earn Russia a point from a poor-quality Group H match. Akinfeev stayed on the ground inside his own net, head in his hands, after making his error, clearly embarrassed after dropping what was a routine save from a shot from about 30 yards. He was consoled by a couple of teammates, who patted him on the back. "It was a kids mistake," Afinkeev said. "The goalkeeper of the national team shouldnt make mistakes like this one." Russia coach Fabio Capello has remained loyal to Akinfeev this season despite some patchy form, and stood by him again. "He is a great goalkeeper," Capello said. "There can be mistakes, of course -- some can get a penalty wrong ... and its logical for a goalkeeper to make a mistake as well. "We were able to make up for that and we can accept a mistake by a great keeper like Akinfeev." The explosive six-minute spell that featured both goals was not in keeping with the rest of a fairly mundane game characterized by slow build-up play, poor passing and wayward finishing. A point leaves both teams behind Belgium, which beat Algeria 2-1 earlier Tuesday, but the group appears wide open based on the opening two fixtures. Having lost four of its last five games heading to Brazil, the South Koreans came into their eighth straight World Cup with concerns over their flimsy defence and a lack of goal threat. A 4-0 thrashing by Ghana in a warm-up in Miami last week highlighted those worrying deficiencies perfectly. There was no hiding their toothless attack here, either, with the experienced Park Chu-young starting as the lone striker but justifying fears that he has lost his way after three ineffective years with Arsenal in the English Premier League. He was substituted in the 56th and his replacement, Lee, scored South Koreas goal. Russia, led by former England coach Fabio Capello, was just as lifeless in attack -- at least until Kerzhakov and Alan Dzagoev came off the bench -- and too functional in midfield. A dire first half was marked by the large contingent of Brazilian fans in the crowd doing slow hand clapping but South Korea coach Hong Myung-bo was satisfied by what he saw. "In such a tournament, the first match is the most difficult," Hong, who captained the nation to the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup, said through a translator. "There is a lot of pressure on it so I thought the players played very well." Save for a shot by Son Heung-min that flew over the bar in the 39th when the forward was free at the edge of the area, there was barely a chance created in the first half. Capello stood with his hands on his hips in the technical area throughout the first 45 minutes, looking distinctly unimpressed. There was a major improvement after the break, although it required the mistake by Akinfeev to really get the game going. However, South Korea couldnt hold on and when Dzagoevs cross-shot was spilled out by goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong and defender Hwang Seok-hos clearance went straight at Andrei Yeshchenko, Kerzhakov was on hand to bundle home from inside the six-yard box. "I thanked them for their reaction," said Capello, who turns 68 on Wednesday. "It was the greatest birthday present I could receive." Glen Rice Jersey . 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Schafer already was rounding third when Schafer bobbled the ball. AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Dwight Howard vs. Andre Drummond was a mismatch from the start -- so it didnt really matter how many key players were missing for the Houston Rockets. Howard had 35 points and 19 rebounds, leading the short-handed Rockets to a 114-97 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night. Howard dominated Drummond, Detroits promising 20-year-old big man, and helped Houston control the game despite the absence of star guard James Harden, who was out with a sprained right ankle. "I love Andre -- the way hes been playing this year," Howard said. "Hes 20 years old, and he doesnt back down from any challenge, and I love that about him. Hes going to continue to get better." But Drummond looked overmatched against Howard, who ended up with his highest-scoring game since joining the Rockets in the off-season. Howard went 13 of 18 from the field, while Drummond managed only nine points at the other end. "At the end I thanked him for the lesson," Drummond said. "He said, Any time." The Rockets also were without Jeremy Lin, who has been bothered by back spasms, and they lost guard Patrick Beverley to a fractured right hand. Josh Smith scored 19 points for the Pistons. Detroit blew a 20-point lead and allowed 72 points in the second half of Fridays loss to Charlotte. The Pistons again struggled defensively against Houston, especially against Howard. "Dwight was unbelievable tonight. He completely dominated the game," Houstons Chandler Parsons said. "Im a big fan of Andre Drummond. I think hes got a lot of potential, and hes a really good player, but I mean, Dwight just dominated tonight." Howard scored 23 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the first half. Houston led 61-53 at the half and 86-71 after three quarters. Drummonds tip-in made it 92-82, but Howard responded by simply backing Drummond down again for two more points..dddddddddddd Francisco Garcias 3-pointer put the Rockets up 97-84. The Pistons shot 1 of 12 from 3-point range, and they also missed a number of shots inside from point-blank range. Houston lost Friday at Indiana in a 114-81 rout, but the Rockets overcame all their injury problems against Detroit. "We just have to go out there and play," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. "It does not matter how many guys we have. It does not matter who is playing or who is not playing. We just have to go there and play together and play with some toughness. Toughness and togetherness overcomes a lot of stuff." Parsons scored 20 points on 9-of-15 shooting for Houston, and Garcia added 16 points starting in place of Harden. Omri Casspi and Aaron Brooks had seven assists each off the bench. "I thought Aaron had a good game tonight," McHale said. "I thought Patrick really started off well. We are not going to have Patrick for a while, which means that Jeremy is due to come back." Brandon Jennings had eight points and 10 assists for Detroit before being ejected with 2:10 to go. After a foul call, a clearly frustrated Jennings tossed the ball away for one technical foul, then earned another for arguing. "We are still trying to get better, night in and night out," Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. "As I said to our players, there will be some nights when we will have good nights, there will be some nights when we have bad nights. Last night and tonight was not our best for sure." NOTES: Detroit was averaging an NBA-best 51.5 points in the paint coming into the game, while Houston was third at 49.2. The teams finished tied at 62 in that department Saturday. ... The Rockets began the fourth quarter by going 8 of 9 from the field. ... Howard scored 33 points in a Nov. 20 loss at Dallas. ... Beverley scored 10 points in the first half but didnt play in the second. 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