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By Ori Lewis
TEL AVIV, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Impressive Russia made it two 2014 World Cup qualifying wins from two under Fabio Capello after Alexander Kerzhakov scored twice in a 4-0 Group F demolition of Israel on Tuesday.
Russia, criticised at home for not scoring more in their 2-0 win over Northern Ireland in Moscow on Friday, produced an assured and clinical performance on a warm, humid night in Tel Aviv.
Kerzhakov scored his first from a free kick after seven minutes and fellow striker Alexander Kokorin doubled the lead 11 minutes later.
Kerzhakov broke free of Israel’s disorganised defence to slot home his second on 64 and substitute Victor Fayzulin was left unmarked to complete the rout with a close-range volley.
“We started outstandingly and we made it difficult for Israel to get back into the game ... I am really happy because we are on six points and have scored six goals. We need to play more games but the confidence of the team is improving and also the quality of the players is very good,” said Italian Capello, appointed in July to replace Dick Advocaat.
He said he was worried by injuries players suffered during the match, including one to midfielder Vladimir Bystrov who went down after a clash of heads with Israeli defenders Tal Ben Haim and Yoav Ziv as the second goal was scored.
Israel’s defeat was one of the worst they have suffered at home in the past two decades and has dealt a severe blow to their qualification hopes for Brazil 2014 after they managed a 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan in Baku on Friday.
It marked a continued bad run for Israel’s new coach, Eli Guttman who has yet to win any game since taking over last December, having lost four matches and drawn two. It was also their worst start to a qualifying campaign since 1994.
“We played against a great team that showed excellent teamwork, we can only learn from the way they played. Our players tried their best but Russia are better than us and deserved to win, although the 4-0 scoreline is not justified,” Guttman said. (Writing by Ori Lewis, editing by Justin Palmer)