MARIBOR, Slovenia : Russia defenders Igor Diveyev and Georgy Dzhikiya netted first half goals to secure a 2-1 win away to Slovenia in a World Cup qualifier on Monday and took the visitors top of Group H.
Diveyev opened the scoring with a header off a free-kick that flew past Slovenian goalkeeper Jan Oblak in the 28th minute. Four minutes later, Dzhikiya scored with an impressive left-footed bicycle kick to increase Russia's lead.
Slovenia quickly responded with a low strike by Josip Ilicic that beat goalkeeper Matvei Safonov in the 40th minute.
The win leaves Russia with 19 points from eight games, two points ahead of Croatia who drew 2-2 at home to Slovakia. [nL1N2R71YO]
Russia and 2018 World Cup runners-up Croatia will earn at least a playoff spot because third-placed Slovakia and Slovenia in fourth are on 10 points with only two rounds of games left.
(Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Ken Ferris)