November 11, 2017 9:29:21 pm
Sergio Aguero scored the first goal at the reopened Luzhniki stadium as Argentina beat Russia 1-0 in a friendly Saturday. The Manchester City forward scored on the rebound in the 86th minute to leave Argentina seven games unbeaten despite a difficult World Cup qualifying campaign.
It was the first game in four years at Moscow’s vast Luzhniki stadium, which hosts next year’s World Cup final. On a chilly afternoon in Moscow, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria went close to scoring for Argentina in the first half but were denied by good saves from Russia captain and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
Konstantin Rausch headed a goal-line clearance shortly after halftime to cut out a chipped cross from Lionel Messi. Russia came closest to scoring with two efforts from midfielder Denis Glushakov around the hour-mark, but one went narrowly wide and the other was hit straight by goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
With a sellout crowd, security was tight at Luzhniki. The Soviet-era stadium, which hosted the 1980 Olympics and 2008 Champions League final, has been almost completely rebuilt for next year’s tournament.
The grand 1950s facade stays, but the stands were torn out and rebuilt closer to the pitch in a football-first configuration that does away with the Olympic athletics track.
The steeper stands, now over two main tiers, mean better visibility for fans even as capacity increased from the pre-refit 78,000 to 81,000 for the World Cup.
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