Croatia earns a goalless draw against Russia.
Croatia and Russia both kept their hopes alive of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar following a dull 0-0 draw in Group H on Wednesday.
Croatia now leads the group with seven points after four games, a goal difference advantage over second-placed Russia. After a 1-1 draw at home against fourth-placed Slovenia, Slovakia is in third position with six points.
Valeri Karpin, Russia’s new coach, had hoped for a more exciting start, but his team generated virtually little up front against a well-organized Croatian defense, which included debutant Borna Sosa on the left wing.
With a rasping drive from the edge of the box in the 15th minute, Arsen Zakharyan, an 18-year-old who became Russia’s youngest outfield player, forced a fingertip save from visiting goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic.
Ivan Perisic scuffed his attempt wide of the far post in the 43rd minute, and Livakovic saved an Aleksei Ionov effort early in the second half.
Guilherme, a Brazilian-born goalkeeper, blocked a Luka Ivanusec attempt in the 82nd minute as the tempo of the game slowed.
Croatia now has a five-game winning streak over Russia.