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Russia overwhelm Saudis in FIFA World Cup opener

IANS  |  Moscow 

Hosts began their World Cup campaign in emphatic fashion, registering an easy 5-0 victory over minnows in a Group A game at the 81,000-seater Stadium here on Thursday.

(12th minute), (43rd, 90+1), Artem (71st) and (90+4) scored for the hosts, who enjoyed a near-perfect first day.

They overcame the suffered by forward in the middle of the first half. But his substitute Cheryshev scored a brace and young Golovin made two assists and a goal to more than make up for Dzagoev's absence.

were impressive from the beginning and threatened the Saudis with fierce counter-attacks. employed pressure by earning multiple corners and after one of them was blocked, Russia regained the ball. fired in a beautiful cross from right to the centre of the box from where headed it in at the left post past to make it 1-0.

Four minutes later, off another counter-attack, delayed his shot, allowing to block but the ball deflected before being parried away by Mayoof.

got their first chance at goal when Mohammed Al Sahlawi's left footed shot from the left side of the box went inches wide.

Russia later suffered a big blow as Dzagoev had to leave the field after picking up a hamstring He raced through a counter-attack before holding the back of his left thigh in the 23rd minute.

Villarreal midfielder Cheryshev replaced Dzagoev for Russia as the hosts continued their good work.

Playing with a strong, disciplined structure with a heavy midfield, Russia controlled the tempo.

Two minutes from time, were caught by a counter-attack again and this time it proved costly. led the counter-attack for Russia before passing it on to Cheryshev, who employed a left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top left corner to make it 2-0.

After the 2-0 lead, the second half saw less action. While Russia didn't need to up the ante, they managed to contain the Saudis. The Saudi team continued to concede possession to the hosts, unable to push their way up the pitch and create any meaningful opportunities.

At the beginning of the second half, Aleksandr Samedov's right footed shot from outside the box was close, missing out on the top left corner.

Russia got their third goal from Dzyuba, who scored in the 71st minute, one minute after coming as a substitute for Fedor Smolov. Golovin made his second assist of the game as his cross from right saw outjump Saudi and head it in.

Russia didn't relent and got their fourth goal in the time as Cheryshev got his second of the day. A long ball from the defence was brought down by Golovin before Cheryshev got inside the box before finishing with a chip with his outside of his left foot in the first minute of the second-time.

A couple of minutes later, Golovin fired a sumptuous free-kick to the right post from just outside of the box to make it a overwhelming 5-0 victory.

--IANS

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(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, June 14 2018. 22:44 IST
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