Thursday Afternoon (GMT) saw Russia host Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in the opening game of the FIFA World Cup 2018.
The home side started the game with a 4-2-3-1 formation while the visitors began in a 4-1-4-1.
The first 10 minutes of the game started with a big roar from the crowd as both sides looked evenly matched in attack.
GOAL – Yury Gazinskiy – 12th minute – Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia
It didn’t take long for a goal to come in the opening half as Russia converted their press into a solid header that went passed the Saudi net.
After a failed set piece, Alexsandr Golovin crossed the ball into the away box only for Yury Gazinskiy to put Russia forward.
Just as Sbornaya were gaining momentum, an earlier injury seemed to give a huge blow to the hosts.
Russia’s main midfielder Alan Dzagoev pulled his hamstring in the 23rd minute and limped off the field as former Real Madrid winger Denis Cheryshev replaced the 27-year-old.
Following the substitution, the Saudis seemed to take charge of the game with their possession as they had two solid chances but failed to convert in a space of 10 minutes.
GOAL – Denis Cheryshev – 43rd Minute – Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia
Some sloppiness in the closing minutes of the first half cost the visitors another goal.
Super Sub Cheryshev strided passed the Green Falcons and slotted the ball passed the goalkeeper, rewarding himself with a debut goal for his country.
The first half of the match finished with the hosts leading at a comfortable 2-0. The match looked like it would have more goals to come from Russia in the second half due to Saudi’s bad form.
Again, in the opening of the last 45 minutes, the visitors chances were failing to convert despite Mohammad Al Sahlawi’s efforts for the Saudis.
The Russians continued to scare in the counter attack as they aimed to bolster the forward line by subbing on Zenit’s Artem Dzyuba.
GOAL – Artem Dzyuba – 72nd Minute – Russia 3-0 Saudi Arabia
Two minutes after being subbed on, the tall Russian headed the ball into the bottom corner of the net with an assist from Spartak’s Roman Zobnin.
The next 20 minutes saw a repeat of what was happening for the majority of the game as the Green Falcons continued losing the ball and Russia took advantage.
GOAL – Denis Cheryshev – 91st Minute – Russia 4-0 Saudi Arabia
An extra three minutes of added time wasn’t going to do the away team any good as super sub Cheryshev got his double by blasting the ball from the left side of the box.
GOAL – Alexsandr Golovin – 93rd Minute – Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia
Just as the referee was about the blow the full time whistle, a free kick was awarded to the hosts just 25-yards out from the Saudi net.
22-year-old Golovin stepped up to take the free kick after a great performance in the second half.
To the shock of both Saudi fans and players, young Golovin scored from 25-yards out, finishing the demolition job that was the opening game of the World Cup.
Source of Image: @FifaWorldCup (Twitter)