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Olympic men's qualifying

Failed scoring chances lead to 2-0 setback to Russia in Moscow.

MOSCOW (Wednesday, April 26, 2000) -- Russia may have failed to qualify for the 2000 European Championships, but the team was able to take a break from the inevitable torrent of criticism by blanking the United States tonight 2-0 behind goals by Igor Titov and Valery Karpin at Dynamo Stadium.

Russia improved to 3-0-1 against the U.S., which wasted several first-half scoring opportunities and falling to 3-1-3 this year.

"We were missing some of our strikers and a couple of other good players, but that's not an excuse," U.S. coach Bruce Arena told Associated Press.

Russia failed qualify for Euro 2000 when it allowed an 88th minute goal at home to Ukraine in its final qualifying match.

Titov put Russia ahead to stay 1-0 in the 63rd minute, taking a pass from his Moscow Spartak club teammate Andrei Tikhonov for a free run into the left side of the penalty area. Titov stepped left around goalkeeper Kasey Keller and fired into an unattended net.

Karpinís goal came two minutes into injury time on a quick counterattack with him firing his shot perfectly low into the right corner from the top of the box.

"Unfortunately my players didn't share my opinion before the game that the U.S. has a powerful team," Russiaís coach Oleg Romantsev told AP. "Only after we scored the first goal did we start to show the game we played to win six consecutive games last year."

In the 24th minute, U.S. midfielder Claudio Reyna found himself one-on-one with Russian keeper Ruslan Nigmatullin, who came out of his net to clear the threat. Midfielders Eddie Lewis and Cobi Jones came up empty in the 33rd minute after a goal-mouth scramble.

Seconds later, Russian striker Vladimir Beschastnykh's header had a shot carom off the right post.

It was Nigmatullin's debut with the national team.

Russia 2, United States 0

Lineups: Russia - Rousian Nigmatullin; Dmitri Khlestov, Alexei Solomatin, Maxim Demenko, Dmitri Khokhlov (Viktor Onopko 46), Egor Titov, Valeriy Karpin (captain), Dmitri Alenichev (Andrei Tikhonov 46), Alexei Smertin; Serguei Semak (Alexandre Panov 60), Vladimir Beschastnykh. United States - Kasey Keller, Frankie Hejduk (Brian West 88), Robin Fraser, Gregg Berhalter, David Regis, Cobi Jones, Claudio Reyna (captain), Tony Sanneh, Chris Armas (Chad Deering 46), Eddie Lewis (Jason Kreis 74), Brian McBride.

Russia - Titov, (Tikhonov), 63.
Russia - Karpin (Panov), 92+.

Shots: Russia 8, United States 14. Saves: Russia 8, United States 3. Corner kicks: Russia 7, United States 9. Fouls: Russia 13, United States 11. Offside: Russia 6, United States 4. Yellow card cautions: Russia - Smertin 32; United States - Sanneh 39, Hejduk 84.

Referee: not available. Venue: Dynamo Stadium in Moscow. Weather: 75 degrees, sunny.

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