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Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia: World Cup hosts start the party with convincing win thanks to subs

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia got off to the perfect start for the hosts as the Russian national team cruised to a 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, using three goals from substitutes, including two from Denis Cheryshev. Russia scored just 12 minutes into the match thanks to a header from Lury Gazinsky, but they would need nothing more to take all three points and move atop Group A.

But it wasn't all great for Russia, as they lost Alan Dzagoev to a hamstring injury before the attack starting clicking. Cheryshev then made it 2-0 right before halftime with a glorious touch and finish in the 43rd minute. Artem Dzyuba made it 3-0 with a fine, skying header over the Saudi Arabian keeper. Cheryshev made it 4-0 at the beginning of added time with this glorious strike with the outside of his foot, before a free kick from Aleksandr Golovin made it 5-0. Cheryshev became the first to come off the bench to score in an opening World Cup game, meaning he became the first sub to score two in an opener. Dzyuba was also a sub in this one and scored, as the team got three goals off the bench. It's an impressive start for the hosts who are now likely just three points away from a spot in the next round. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia needs to figure out how it is going to stop anybody. But of course, if you can't score, you aren't going anywhere. Consider the Saudi Arabian team a long shot to make the round of 16 with a negative-five goal differential to start the tourney.

Player Ratings Russia: Akinfeev (7), Fernandes (7), Kutepov (7), Ignashevich (7), Zhirkov (7), Gazinskiy (7), Zobnin (7), Samedov, (7) Golovin (8), Dzagoev (6), Smolov (6).

Subs: Cheryshev (8), Dzyuba (7)

Saudi Arabia: Al-Muaiouf (4), Al-Breik (5), Omar Hawsawi (3), Osama Hawsawi (3), Al-Shahrani (6), Al-Faraj (6), Otayf (5), Al-Jassim (5), Al-Shehri (4), Al-Dawsari (5), Al-Sahlawi (6)

Subs: Al Muwallad (5), Asiri (5), Bahbir (5)

Man of the match: Denis Cheryshev

 
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