In the familiar surrounds of Zenit's stadium in St. Petersburg, Dutch coach Dick Advocaat saw his Russia team overcome Bulgaria 1-0 on Wednesday, to get his time in charge of the Russian national side off to a winning start, RIA Novosti reported.
The only goal of the game was scored in the seventh minute by Roman Shirokov, who volley forcefully home after Bulgarian keeper Nikolay Mihaylov could only touch Andrei Arshavin's cross on to the corner of the six-yard box.
Mihaylov was hindered by Russian bodies in the box, but his attempt to reach the Arsenal forward's free kick lacked conviction.
The game had been scheduled for Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, but the threat of smog from wildfires near the Russian capital prompted the Russian Football Union to move the game north to the second city.
Chances were few and far between, although the Bulgarians dominated possession and had marginally the better of the looks at goal. Martin Petrov was their main creative force, with two first-half crosses setting up half chances and a through ball in the 69th minute that Russia's Igor Akinfeev had to come sharply off his line to block from Dimitar Rangelov.
The late introduction of CSKA Moscow's Alan Dzagoev briefly sparked the home side, but in the end the friendly match meandered to the final whistle and handshakes all round for Advocaat.
The former Zenit coach ultimately matched the success of his countryman and predecessor Guus Hiddink in his first game in charge, which ended with a 1-0 win over Latvia.