Russia 2018: Hosts Russia annihilate Saudis in opener

Russia 2018: Hosts Russia annihilate Saudis in opener

Former Real Madrid starlet Denis Cheryshev came off the bench to produce a man of the match performance to inspire Russia to a 5-0 drubbing of Saudi Arabia in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia opening game on Thursday.

It took the hosts just twelve minutes to open the floodgate of goals when Yury Gazinsky headed home Alexander Golovin’s cross beyond Mohammed Almuaiouf in the Saudi Arabian goal.

The Russians were then hit with a blow when striker Alan Dzagoev continued his poor run of injuries when he was struck with another hamstring complaint after twenty three minutes. His replacement Cheryshev however made sure the CSKA man would not be missed.

Cheryshev doubled their advantage two minutes before the break with a brilliant goal. The attacker chipped the ball over two defenders coming with fearful sliding challenges before hitting a powerful effort into the roof of the net.

The goals looked to have dried up until midway through the second half when another substitute came on to enliven things up in the game, once again.

This time, Artem Dzyuba with a decent goalscoring record with the national team scored within eighty nine seconds of replacing Fedor Smolov, heading home another Golovin cross to put the game well and truly beyond the hapless hosts.

The game looked certain to end 3-0 but the star acts Cheryshev and Golovin had other ideas.

The former netted the game’s fourth goal with a sublime effort in the first minute of added time. He hit a volley with the outside of his left foot from just inside the box for his second of the game which duly earned him the Man of the Match award.

Golovin would however provide icing on the cake with a well taken free kick at the nick of time.

The Russians will go into their second game, against Egypt who face Uruguay in their first game on Friday, with maximum points and a healthy goal cushion.

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