Alexander Kerzhakov rescued Russia in their first World Cup finals match since 2002, scoring three minutes after coming on as substitute to salvage a 1-1 draw against South Korea on Tuesday in Cuiaba.
The Zenit St Petersburg striker was brought on after rival substitute Lee Keun-Ho put South Korea ahead with a 30 metre shot that Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev disastrously parried over his head into the net.
The result left both countries trailing Belgium who head the Group H table after beating Algeria 2-1 earlier.
Russia, who host the 2018 finals, were looking to make an impact in their landmark return. They owed their saved honour to Kerzhakov who scored his 26th international goal.
“The reaction of the players was really good,” said Russian coach Fabio Capello when asked about the Korean goal.