World Cup: Russia ease past Saudi Arabia challenge in opening fixture

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The hosts Russia have comprehensively defeated Asian side Saudi Arabia by 5-0 in the opening fixture of the 2018 World Cup played at  Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow today.

Russia’s Yury Gazinsky, broke the dead-lock against run-a-play with a free header in the 12th minute, becoming the first player to score the opening goal of the tournament.

The hosts raced to double their lead in the 43rd minute after striker Denis Cheryshev evaded two challenges inside the box before rifling net from the tight angle to rapturous joy of the home supporters.

In the second half, Saudi Arabia came out all blazing against the hosts, they nearly pulled a goal back but failed a decisive touch at the far post after a weighted cut back in the danger area.

Substitute Artem Dzyuba notched his first and team’s third goal in the 71st minute to secure the match in the host’s favour. After conceding the third goal there was no way back into the game for Saudi Arabia except limiting the damage against the rampant hosts.

Yury Gazinsky scored his brace with a outside of left foot from 18 yards in the added minutes of the second half.

Aleksandr Golovin had a fabulous game with two assists before registering his name in the score sheet with the team’s fifth goal in the added minutes of the second half.

Although, Saudi Arabia had a better ball possession and passing accuracy in their game, they failed to create any clear-cut goal scoring chances.

Russia will take on Egypt at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg on June 19, whereas, Saudi Arabia will play against Uruguay the following day at the Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don.

In tomorrow’s fixture, Mohamed Salah’s Egypt will take on Luis Suarez’s Uruguay in the first match (5: 45 pm), In second fixture African side Morocco will lock horns with Asian side Iran (8:45 pm.

Two heavyweights, European Champion Portugal and former world champion Spain will contest in a mouth-watering fixture around 11:45 pm tomorrow.