Thursday, November 19, 2009

Player Ratings: Slovenia 1-0 Russia (*2-2 agg.)

Slovenia defeated Russia to book their place at the World Cup in South Africa next year. rates the players on show.


Handanovic 8 - Had little to do in the first half against an impotent Russian attack. Called into action in the dying stages of the game after some reshuffling from Hiddink, the 'keeper making several strong, acrobatic and, above all, extremely important saves.

Jokic 7.5 - Brilliant in defence. Kept Arshavin's contribution to the game at an embarrassing low. Passed the ball well and had a shot himself in the latter stages of the game.

Suler 7 - Tried to come out when possible in the first half, having only one striker to deal with. Looked to create when he could, but was forced to remain defensive in the second period.

Cesar 6.5
- Did well to keep Pavlyuchenko quiet in the first half. Remained as solid as he could in the dying stages when Russia threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Slovenian defence.

Brecko 8 - Zhirkov was deployed as a left-winger to hassle the stalwart full-back, but there was no luck for Hiddink as Brecko continued to keep the Chelsea man, and his protege Yanbaev, from creating any danger whatsoever. An absolute gem of a player - expect more from the Koeln defender in the future.

Kirm 7
- Very animated tonight, delivered some good crosses. Not afraid to pick up the ball - a real improvement on his first leg performance

Koren 8 - Cleared up wonderfully, pulling the strings in midfield with expert precision and a very cool head. Had a few shots himself and always broke up play when needed.

Radosavljevic 7 - Hungry but quite sloppy with his tackles at times. Gave away a free kick in the first half that could have given the Russians a 1-0 lead. However, completely redeemed himself when he put in a game-saving tackle on Pogrebnyak in the dying stages of the match.

Birsa 7 - Was kept quiet on the right, but very positive the few times he received the ball. Provided the assist for Dedic's goal.

Dedic 8.5 - Scored the winning goal. Snooped around and made a huge nuisance of himself. Very sneaky and a real asset to the team.

Novakovic 6 - Held the ball up wonderfully, but like last week, failed miserably at getting the ball on target.


Pecnik 6.5 - The away goal super-sub handled the pressure well after he came on, producing some great, fresh-legged play with Koren as his assistant.

Stevanov N/A


Akinfeev 6 - Was not to blame for the goal and made some terrific saves. However, he was involved in the strange incident at the end that led to Zhirkov being sent off.

Yanbaev 5 - Hooked at the break as Hiddink decided to go with three at the back. Kept Birsa relatively quiet, but should not have been deployed in place of Zhirkov, who started on the wing.

Ignashevich 5
- Almost caused a penalty after getting on the wrong side of Dedic. Novakovic and Dedic turned both centre-backs far too many times. Poor defending this week from the Russian pair.

Berezutski 5 - Played identically to his partner, right down to almost conceding a penalty after getting on the wrong side of a wily Dedic.

Anyukov 5.5 - The better of the full-backs going forward, Anyukov had his work cut out for him as Kirm decided to play well in this leg.

Bilyaletdinov 4.5
- Failed to impose on the game and ended up in the book with a yellow card for bad behaviour. Not the two-goal hero we had seen last week.

Zyrianov 5.5
- Tried to remain as composed as possible while on the ball, but lacked any options from his team-mates as he looked to produce forward-thinking play.

Denisov 4.5
- Had no effect on the midfield area whatsoever. Another name that went in the book for petulance.

Zhirkov 4 - Ran into a brick wall over and over again in Brecko. Hiddink's thinking may have been to have Zhirkov's class outwit the solid defender, but Brecko even found time in his busy schedule to move forward and help with attacking. Sent off near the end for pushing over a Slovenian sub - what were you thinking, Yuri?

Arshavin 4
- If you hadn't seen Arshavin playing wonderfully for Arsenal, you'd really be wondering why Hiddink has made him captain. The fact that the playmaker somehow managed to play worse in the second leg than the first really has this pundit scratching his head in disbelief.

Pavlyuchenko 4 - Hooked at half-time having not produced anything resembling danger.


Kerzhakov 4
- Too aggressive in his play to the point that he was sent off after lashing out at Handanovic. Frustrations of playing against a terrific goalkeeper led to Kerzhakov tarnishing his reputation as a sportsman.

Sergei Semak 6.5 - The most effective of the substitutes, Semak was the only player who seemed to have any positive effect on the overall performance of the Russians.

Pogrebnyak 5 - Only had one real chance to score, but was thwarted by a heroic Radosavljevic at the end.


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