MOSCOW:Hosts Russia began their FIFA World Cup campaign in emphatic fashion, registering an easy 5-0 victory over minnows Saudi Arabia in a Group A game at the 81,000-seater Luzhniki Stadium here on Thursday. Yuri Gazinskiy (12th minute), Denis Cheryshev (43rd, 90+1), Artem Dzyuba (71st) and Aleksandr Golovin (90+4) scored for the hosts, who enjoyed a near-perfect first day. They overcame the injury suffered by forward Alan Dzagoev 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.Russia were impressive from the beginning and threatened the Saudis with fierce counter attacks. Russia employed pressure by earning multiple corners and after one of them was blocked, Russia regained the ball. Aleksandr Golovin fired in a beautiful cross from right to the centre of the box from where Yuri Gazinskiy headed it in at the left post past Abdullah Mayoof to make it 1-0. Four minutes later, off another counter-attack, Alan Dzagoev delayed his shot, allowing Mohammed Alburayk to block but the ball deflected before being parried away by Mayoof.Saudi Arabia 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 injury.
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