Igor Akinfeev's incredible kick save helps Russian Federation upset Spain

Posted July 02, 2018

An own goal from the Russian Federation defender Sergei Ignashevich gave Spain an early lead.

Russia's 2018 World Cup campaign got off to a dream start on day one and and still going strong.

In the last action of extra-time Rodrigo had a shot on goal saved by Akinfeev but the teams remained level at 1-1 and the match would be decided by a penalty shoot-out.

Spain dominated the possession in the opening minutes, as plenty expected, but it was Russian Federation that had the match's first semi-dangerous chance.

Everyone inside the Luzhniki Stadium, and all those watching at home, held their breath as the referee and the VAR team checked footage for holding on Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos late on in extra time.

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In a World Cup which already broke the record for own goals, Ignashevich made it 10 when the ball deflected off his heal and into his own net in the 12th minute while challenging Sergio Ramos at a free-kick.

Akinfeev, who started his professional career by saving a spot kick in his first ever match, then kicked Aspas' penalty high and wide to trigger wild celebrations. Spain's first corner of the match followed after 59 minutes, but Isco's cross was headed away by Dzubya.

The excitement of the first half dissipated soon after the restart as the game fell into a rather tiresome rhythm of Spain dominating possession without truly threatening. Subs - Granat 5, Smolov 6, Cheryshev 6, Erokhin 5.

With neither side able to break the deadlock they went into extra time level at 1-1 after 90 minutes.

But despite recording 78.2 per cent possession in Moscow, Spain could not find a way to break down Russian Federation as the tie entered extra time.

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Andres Iniesta put the hosts ahead 1-0 from the spot, but Fyodor Smolov returned fire for Russian Federation despite a hand from David De Gea in goal.

Koke's penalty was saved by Akinfeev and up stepped Golovin to smash home his kick and give the hosts the advantage.

Spain controlled the game as expected but struggled to create genuine chances, with Akinfeev sharp on the few occasions they did before saving from Koke and Iago Aspas to seal a 4-3 win on penalties.

His battering ram style looks at odds with a side that still prioritises possession and slick triangular passing, hallmarks of their tiki-taka revolution that delivered two European Championships and the World Cup from 2008 to 2012.

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