The FIFA World Cup 2018 kicked off in Moscow on Thursday as hosts Russia recorded a dominant display against Saudi Arabia, recording a 5-0 victory in front of their home fans. Among the fans was none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was naturally delighted with his team’s performance and saw the match with FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
The first goal of the game and the World Cup came through the head of midfielder Yuri Gazinsky, who was on hand to convert Aleksandr Golovin’s cross from the left in the 12th minute. Russia’s key playmaker Alan Dzagoev was subbed off after picking up a hamstring injury and was replaced by Denis Cheryshev, who showed great skill and composure to slam his team’s second goal in the 43rd minute.
Russia continued to dominate proceedings in the second half as the Asian side looked out of sorts, unable to muster even a single shot on target. They scored their third goal of the game through Artem Dzyuba – who scored a trademark headed goal using his power and height from a cross from the right by Golovin.
The two remaining goals were added in injury time as Cheryshev scored his second of the game. The former Real Madrid man latched on to a knockdown from Dzyuba, dribbled passed a line of defence, before curling the ball into the top corner with the outside of his left foot – an early Goal of the tournament contender.
Golovin rounded off a fine performance with a goal of his own in the dying moments of the match, scoring from a freekick from just outside the penalty area. Watch the highlights of the match here:
The second Group A encounter will be played between Egypt and Uruguay on Friday in Yekaterinburg.