Russia beats Saudia Arabia 5-0 in the World Cup opening match on Thursday.
Russia dominates the first half; Saudi Arabia left wondering
Nester Pitana’s whistle blow kicked off the World Cup as Saudi Arabia rushed to attack down the left flank, but Russia easily cleared their lines. Aleksandr Samedov’s early free-kick and Aleksandr Golovin’s early corner were deflected by Saudi defense. Some more corners and a throw-in later, Yuri Gazinsky scored the opening goal of the World Cup for Russia.
GOAL (Gazinsky 12): Saudi Arabia left-back Yasser Al-Shahrani slipped to give Yuri Gazinsky a chance to leap high and guide a cross past the keeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf and inside the left upright.
Soon after the goal, Russia’s dominant attack became apparent as back-to-back offensives were launched at the out-of-touch Saudis. Alesksander Samedov and Aleksandr Golovin kept the Saudi defenders on their toes during the better half of the first 45 minutes.
Undoubtedly, Yasser Al-Shahrani was Saudi Arabia’s stand-out player, but his individual performance could not match up with Russia’s ruthless attacks as one after another, corners and free-kicks were awarded to the Russian side.
Russian Alan Dzagoev, who was injured during the World Cup 2014 and Euro Cup 2016, was pulled out because of a hamstring injury. The substitute doubles Russia’s lead.
GOAL (Cheryshev 43): With Russia on the counter-attack and a three-on-two advantage, Cheryshev picked the ball up on the inside left channel from his teammate Smolov, cutting inside and taking a touch as two defenders dived in, fooled completely by Cheryshev. With the goal at his mercy, Cheryshev proceeded to blast the ball into the roof of the net from about 12 yards.
Saudi Arabia bows down to Russia’s brutal attacks as second half shows a similar story
The start of the second half was boring, in all honesty, as the ball rarely left the middle third. Both the teams played as expected of them and both the teams shared equal possession of the ball.
As the match continued, Saudi Arabia enjoyed a rare spell of possession inside the Russian half, but struggled to make it pay. A free-kick and a substitute could not help Saudi Arabia’s chances either. And only two minutes after their keeper made a flying save, Russia scores a beauty.
GOAL (Dzyuba 71): Russia’s Dzyuba scores with his first touch – a header. Having spent mere seconds on the field, Dzyuba scores a wonderful header. Zobnin’s flying ball was headed into the bottom right-hand corner with pure class.
The rest of the match saw Saudi Arabia’s team being thrashed on all sides of the field. The Russians scored three more goals before the final whistle provided the Saudi men a face-saving break.
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GOAL (Cheryshev 90): Denis Cheryshev scores the goal of the night, floating the ball into the top corner with an insoucient swish of his left boot from the edge of the Saudi penalty area.
GOAL (Golovin 90+4): The Russian midfielder scores with a sublime free-kick, curling the ball around the Saudi wall and wide of the post, only for it to curl back inside and beyond the reach of Al-Mayouf from about 25 yards.
FINAL SCORE: Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia.