Russia settle with Armenia
That meant they held onto their lead with ten points from five matches, but have left the Republic of Ireland the chance to draw level with them should they defeat Macedonia later today.
Armenia, who are now in second place with eight points, started in a lively fashion, pinning Russia back in an attempt to expose their defensive frailties. But the visitors held firm, stifling Armenia's attacks and all the while looking for the chance to launch counter-attacks.
Midway into the first half Russia added power and precision to their attacks and created an impressive set of chances including nine corners. The guests made Armenia's goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky the most overworked player on the pitch at Yerevan Republican stadium, but they failed to break the deadlock before the break.
Six minutes after the interval the hosts also created a clear opportunity for an opener, but striker Yura Movsisyan failed to find the net from seven metres out with the goal at his mercy. Russia replied with another series of attacks, but once again they failed to capitalise on their goal-scoring opportunities.
Russian skipper Andrei Arshavin, who looked a pale shadow of his normal self, also had a chance to score in the 79th minute, but his shot from the edge of Armenia's box went just inches wide off the right-hand post.