Russia’s Vladimir Bystrov controls the ball in the friendly against Iceland (RIA Novosti / Alexey Danichev)
Russia’s football team took their first win of 2013, beating Iceland 2-0 in a friendly game in Marbella, Spain.
The Russian line-up was somewhat blighted as many squad members prepared for the restart of their football season in March.
The Russians were in control in the first half, but could only create their first real scoring chance during the 43rd minute, which was still enough to take the lead.
Iceland sprung an unsuccessful offside trap and unmarked Roman Shirokov beat keeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson, with a low shot after a good pass from Vladimir Bysrov, 1-0.
In the second half, Russia’s coach, Fabio Capello, introduced a group of younger players into the game, who added pace and emotion into the team’s play.
And it was one of the substitutes, Oleg Shatov, who doubled the teams advantage on the 66th minute.
The 22-year-old marked his national debut with a goal as his powerful blast from inside the box nearly tore the net, 2-0.
The Iceland friendly is Russia’s final test ahead of the crucial World Cup 2014 qualifier away to Northern Ireland on March 13.
Capello’s men currently sit will top of Group F, with 12 points and a comfortable 5-point gap from nearest rivals, Portugal.