Match Game 1 Summary: Russia 5 vs Saudi Arabia 0
Goals Scored by: Gazinskiy (12’), Cheryshev (43’, 90+1’), Dzyuba (71’), Golovin (90+4’)
2018 World Cup host, Russia completely whitewashed Saudi Arabia 5 – 0 at the Luzhiniki Stadium in Moscow. Yuri Gazinskiy put the Russians ahead in the 12’ with a header following a cross from Golovin that towered past Saudi goalkeeper, Al-Mayoof. Gazinsky scored the first goal of the tournament with the first shot on target.
Saudi Arabia showed class earlier on with deft touches, good ball control, and fluid passes. In the 24’, Dzagoev was substituted following a hamstring injury and the very talented Cheryshev replaced him and he surely didn’t disappoint. Russia got back into the game and with a cross through the flank, two defenders flunk themselves towards the Villarreal midfielder and he tucked it into the net with his left foot with a fine piece of skill. With this, Russia scored with their first two shots on target.
In the second half, Saudi Arabia had a change of strategy by approaching the match with an attack-mindedness. Otafy was substituted for Al-Muwallad in the 64’. While the Russian substituted Samedov for Kuzyayev in the 64’ and Smolov was out for Dzyuba in the 70’. In the 71’, with just his third touch of the ball, Artem Dzyuba scored the third goal for the host nation following a cross from Golovin.
Saudi Arabia exhausted their substitutions by taking out Al-Shehri who had an abysmal performance and bringing in Bahbri and also, Al-Sahlawi was taken off for Abu Radeah. In the 88’, Golovin received the first booking of the tournament after tripping Al-Faraq. By the 90+1’, Cheryshev scored a screamer after receiving an assist from Dzyuba. Cheryshev becomes the first ever substitute to score in the opening match of a World Cup tournament and the first Russian player to score more than once in a World Cup match for Russia after Oleg Salenko scored five against Cameroun in 1994.
In the 93’, Al-Jassim got a yellow card booking which resulted in a free kick and Golovin beautifully curled the ball over the wall to compound Saudi Arabia’s misery. The other members of Group A include Uruguay and Egypt and they square up tomorrow in their first match.