RPL players on international duty: Vlasic’s Croatia defeat Malta, Azmoun scores against Syria

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On 30 March, qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, as well as friendly games, were held.

2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Europe

Group E

Belgium 8-0 Belarus

Rostov defender Aleksandr Pavlovets played a full match for the visitors, Lokomotiv striker Vitaly Lisakovich was substituted in the 74th minute, and Rotor midfielder Ivan Maevsky entered the game in the 61st minute. The Belarusians conceded eight goals in a match for the first time and suffered the biggest defeat in their history.

Belarus are fourth in the group with three points. They will resume qualifying matches against the Czech Republic (2 September, away), Wales (5 September, home) and Belgium (8 September, home).

Group G

Montenegro 0-1 Norway

Ural defender Stefan Strandberg came on as a substitute in the 89th minute and earned a booking in added time. Rostov defender Haitam Aleesami was not included in the visitors' starting lineup. Having taken six points from three matchdays, Norway are in fourth position and are behind the Netherlands and Montenegro on goal difference.

In September’s qualifiers, Norway will meet the Netherlands (1 September, home), Latvia (4 September, away) and Gibraltar (7 September, at home).

Group H

Cyprus 1-0 Slovenia

In the match between Russia’s group opponents, three points were taken by Cyprus thanks to Ioannis Pittas’ goal in the 42nd minute. Ufa defender Bojan Jokic remained on the bench for Slovenia, and Sochi’s Miha Mevlja did not participate in the match due to suspension for too many yellow cards. Cyprus picked up their first victory in qualifying and are fourth with four points, while Slovenia dropped to fifth position with three points.

Croatia 3-0 Malta

CSKA midfielder Nikola Vlasic played the full match and was shown a yellow card in stoppage time. Dejan Lovren of Zenit and Filip Uremovic of Rubin didn’t come on. Croatia now have six points, ahead of Russia on goal difference, and top the table. On 1 September, there will be three matches in the group: Malta vs Cyprus, Slovenia vs Slovakia and Russia vs Croatia.

2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers

Group F

Cameroon 0-0 Rwanda

Dynamo forward Clinton N'jie was included in the hosts’ starting line-up and spent 66 minutes on the pitch. Cameroon topped their group with 11 points. The Africa Cup of Nations finals will be held in Cameroon in January-February 2022.


Iran 3-0 Syria

Zenit striker Sardar Azmoun scored his 34th goal in his 52nd game for Iran. The Zenit player scored against Syria in the 38th minute with the score at 1-0, and played a total of 73 minutes. In June, Iran will play four matches on the second matchday of 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, against Hong Kong (3 June), Bahrain (7 June), Cambodia (11 June) and Iraq (15 June).

Sardar Azmoun scores against Syria and doubles Iran’s advantage in a friendly match! #Zenitovtsysbornykh pic.twitter.com/I1KsqFGITI

Photo: Anna Meyer/Zenit


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