ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 2 (Reuters) - Alexander
Kerzhakov notched a hat-trick as Russia routed Andorra 4-0 in
their Euro 2008 Group E qualifier on Saturday.
The Sevilla striker fired the home team ahead in the eighth
minute with a neat lob over Andorra keeper Koldo Alvarez, then
doubled the lead eight minutes later.
Kerzhakov made it 3-0 four minutes after the break by
latching on to a rebound and substitute Dmitry Sychev scored the
fourth midway through the second half.
"Scoring a quick goal is always very important against a
team like Andorra, and today we did just that," said Kerzhakov,
who has scored five goals in Russia's last two qualifiers after
notching a double in a 2-0 win over Estonia in March.
'We got a nice lead early on and we were able to maintain a
good level of play throughout the rest of the match.'
The Russians could have easily added a few more but were
still satisfied with a comfortable victory which moved them top
of the group with 14 points from six matches, a point ahead of
Croatia, who were playing Estonia later on Saturday.
Andorra, who were missing eight first-team players through
injury and suspension, rarely threatened Russia's goal as they
slumped to their sixth defeat in six qualifiers.