Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev owes teammate Alexander Kerzhakov, big time.
Just minutes after Akinfeev gifted South Korea a 1-0 lead in the teams' Group H opener at the World Cup by flubbing what appeared to be a simple save, Kerzhakov entered the match as a substitute and quickly delivered the equalizer. The frenetic exchange occurred deep into the second half and produced the only goals in a 1-1 draw in at Arena Pantanal in Cuiba on Tuesday.
With the teams scoreless into the final third of the match, South Korea striker Lee Keun-Ho tested Akinfeev with a long-range shot. The ball seemed to be heading straight for the chest of the Russian keeper, who raised his hands to grasp it. Akinfeev attempted to close his gloved hands on the ball, but it somehow slipped from his grip. As Akinfeev flailed to grab it, the ball trickled into the net for a shocking opening goal.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 17, 2014
Russia head coach Fabio Capello, who was on the wrong end of a goalkeeper's howler while on the touchline for England at the 2010 World Cup, responded to the goal by making two substitutes. Kerzhakov, a forward who plays for Zenit St. Petersburg, entered in the 71st minute. Just three minutes later, with what seemed to be one of his very first touches of the game, Kerzhakov knocked the ball past South Korea goalkeeper Jung Sung-Ryong during a scrum inside the penalty area.
(GIF via @FlyByKnite)