Russia coach Fabio Capello praised his team for reacting quickly to the embarrassing setback they suffered in their 1-1 World Cup draw with South Korea.
The Russians had looked shaky at the back for some time during a Group H clash with South Korea and, in the 68th minute, goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev flapped wildly at a speculative effort from Lee Keun-ho to concede the opener.
But Capello threw Alexandr Kerzhakov into the mix from the bench and was soon rewarded for making the switch as the Zenit St Petersburg striker forced a 1-1 draw in Cuiaba.
His equaliser arrived from a goalmouth scramble - only six minutes after Akinfeev’s gaffe - and Italian tactician Capello was pleased his players had managed to stay focused on securing a positive result.
He told the BBC: “It was a good game, they ran a lot in the first half and then felt tired. You saw the goal they scored, it was not easy to react.
“But the players were really good and most important for me was the reaction. We also twice had a chance to score a second goal.
“I know Kerzhakov did well, he’s a fantastic player. He always offers us a way to score goals.”
The Akinfeev incident will have given Capello, the former England boss, unpleasant flashbacks of Rob Green’s mistake against the United States at the 2010 World Cup.
Despite watching victory and two valuable points slip away in the final minutes, South Korea coach Hong Myung-bo was able to praise his team for tightening up at the back.
The fall-out from last week’s final warm-up game, a friendly against Ghana in Miami, sent South Korea off to the World Cup finals in a fog of depression as the Black Stars had plundered an easy 4-0 win.
Hong told SBS after Tuesday’s match: “The heavy defeat against Ghana was not important as it was just part of the process.
“We focused our rhythm and organisation on this match.
“I think it worked well. The condition of players and organisation of team was good.”
South Korea next face Algeria in Porto Alegre on Sunday, three hours after Russia kick off against Group H leaders Belgium in Rio de Janeiro.