Pogrebnyak double defeats Andorra

ANDORRA LA VELLA - Pavel Pogrebnyak scored twice as Russia opened their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a low-key 2-0 win over Andorra in a Group B match on Friday.

Pogrebnyak fired the visitors ahead in the 14th minute, calmly slotting past Andorra keeper Josep Gomes from close range after a fine feed by Russia captain Andrei Arshavin.

The VfB Stuttgart striker added a second with a 65th-minute penalty after a foul on Russia substitute Alan Dzagoyev.

Russia beat Andorra 1-0 at the same stadium in November 2007 in their last Euro 2008 qualifier to clinch a place in the championship finals where they reached the semi-finals.

Russia, under new coach Dick Advocaat, looked unconvincing on Friday, wasting numerous chances against a semi-professional side, ranked lowly 201st by world's governing body FIFA.

Advocaat, however, was satisfied with the team's performance.

"It wasn't too bad," the Dutchman, who succeeded compatriot Guus Hiddink in May after Russia failed to qualify for this year's World Cup, told reporters.

"But we must definately improve in our next match against Slovakia." The Russians host Slovakia in Moscow on Tuesday.

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