Russia beat Belarus this afternoon, with Fabio Capello’s side triumphing 4-2 in a friendly in Moscow.
But the struggling former England manager was forced to rely on two 19-year-olds – one of whom has never started a professional league match for his club.
Aleksandr Golovin of CSKA Moscow – who is yet to make his full top-flight debut for his club – climbed from the bench in the second half to help turn around a potentially embarrassing 1-2 deficit.
The central midfielder, along with fellow 19-year-old Alexei Miranchuk both netted, along with veteran forward Alexander Kerzhakov to seal the win.
The decision to field Golovin – who doesn’t even have an official squad number at CSKA – was criticised in many quarters of the Russian media, but the move paid off for the under-fire manager and handed the Italian a timely boost.
The Russians now face a must-win home tie against Group G leaders Austria one week from now, with anything but a win leaving qualification for next summer’s tournament looking bleak.