Aaron Hughes and Chris Baird both started but Northern Ireland's World Cup qualifying campaign got off to a losing start as goals from Viktor Fayzulin and Roman Shirokov earned Fabio Capello's Russia a 2-0 win in Moscow on Friday.
Fayzulin broke the deadlock with a smart finish from eight yards, before Shirokov coolly converted from the penalty spot for the second.
Northern Ireland return to Belfast for a must-win clash with Luxembourg at Windsor Park on Tuesday evening.
Meanwhile, Brede Hangeland and John Arne Riise were both named in the starting XI as Norway were beaten 2-0 by Iceland in Group 5.
Norway take on Slovenia in Oslo on Tuesday.
In Group 3, Stephen Kelly was an unused substitute as the Republic of Ireland defeated Kazakhstan 2-1 thanks to two late goals from Robbie Keane and Kevin Doyle.
Ireland are next in action on Tuesday when they face Oman in a friendly at our own Craven Cottage.
In the North, Central America and Caribbean qualifiers for the World Cup, Bryan Ruiz remained on the bench as Costa Rica lost 2-0 to Mexico in Group B. The two nations face off again in Mexico City on Tuesday.
After keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw with Cambodia on Wednesday, Neil Etheridge helped the Philippines to a 2-0 win over Singapore on Friday. The Azkals play the last of three friendlies against Laos on Monday.
Finally, Mahamadou Diarra is in action on Saturday when Mali meet Botswana in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.