FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup holders Russia held off a fightback from minnows Madagascar to close on the quarter-finals and continue their quest to retain the title.
The Russians got off to a flying start in the opening period, with a goal from Ilya Leonov and two from Kirill Romanov putting Mikhail Likhachev's side in a commanding position. However, strikes from Bernardin Rasolomandimby and Tokindrainy Randriamampandry gave the African minnows some hope before Yury Krasheninnikov's rather fortuitous fourth for Russia sealed the win.
Leonov added to his goal in the opening match against Paraguay while Romanov's double saw him pick up his third and fourth goals of the tournament to set Russia seemingly on the road to victory.
However, Madagascar displayed the same fighting spirit they showed in their opener against Tahiti, first reducing the deficit to just one and then holding the 2013 champions scoreless for over 25 minutes before conceding a fourth, a clearance from the Barea goalkeeper which crashed in off the Russian No5 'Krash'.
Both sides will await the the outcome of Tahiti against Paraguay later. Russia could be on their way to the knockout phase while Madagascar might be facing an early elimination.