Kokorin joins injury list for Russia-Portugal clash
Moscow, June 1 (IANS/RIA Novosti): Russia manager Fabio Capello’s injury problems for next week’s FIFA World Cup qualifying trip to Portugal deepened with the news that striker Alexander Kokorin will miss the game with a long-running Achilles tendon injury.
That leaves Zenit St. Petersburg‘s Alexander Kerzhakov as the only fit striker from Capello’s original 23-man squad after Artem Dzyuba was forced out with a muscle spasm.
The Russian FA announced the 22-year-old Kokorin’s withdrawal in a website statement after training Friday, adding that he would also skip next month’s European Under-21 Championships.
Capello will wait until after Saturday’s Russian Cup final between CSKA Moscow and Anzhi Makhachkala before calling up another player in Kokorin’s stead. Dzyuba was replaced by Anzhi youngster Fyodor Smolov Tuesday.
When fit, Dynamo Moscow’s Kokorin has played in every game under Capello. He has 13 caps and scored his only international goal against Israel in September.
Russia can cement their position at the top of World Cup qualifying Group F with a win in Lisbon June 7 while Portugal can take first place with three points. Capello’s men have two games in hand.
Russia beat Portugal 1-0 in Moscow in October.