Mo­ment to Ch­erysh

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FRONT PAGE -

Ch­ery­shev stars as Rus­sia rout Saudi Ara­bia in World Cup opener

FI­NALLY let loose af­ter a year-long diet of in­ter­na­tional friendlies, hosts Rus­sia roared their World Cup in­tent to the rafters yes­ter­day with a 5- 0 tour­na­ment-open­ing win over Saudi Ara­bia.

De­nis Ch­ery­shev was the star man for Rus­sia as he came out as a s ub, s cor­ing t wice. I ury Gazin­sky scored af­ter 12 min­utes and Ch­ery­shev added a sec­ond be­fore the break af­ter com­ing on as an in­jury re­place­ment for Alan Dza­goev.

Artem Dzuyba net­ted a third be­fore ter­rific late ef­forts from Ch­ery­shev and Alek­sandr Golovin wrapped up Rus­sia’s first win since Oc­to­ber to launch their Group A cam­paign in style.

Rus­sia headed i nto t he cur­tain­raiser at the 80,000ca­pac­ity Luzh­niki, the cru­cible of Rus­sian and Soviet sport, with­out a vic­tory in over eight months and ranked a lowly 70th in the world.

For Saudi Ara­bia it was a re­turn to the global show­piece for the first time in 12 years, with their only pre­vi­ous fi­nals wins at the 1994 World Cup.

Only South Africa, in 2010, have failed to ad­vance from the group stage as the host na­tion and a seven-match win­less run had ramped up the pres­sure on Stanislav Cherch­esov’s side.

A lack of an at­tack­ing threat in re­cent out­ings was a pri­mary con­cern for Rus­sia go­ing into a group cam­paign in which they wil l a l s o f a c e Egypt a n d Uruguay.

Those fears were soon washed away, at least for the time be­ing, as Alexan­der Same­dov and Fe­dor Smolov carved out early chances only to be de­nied by des­per­ate slid­ing blocks.

The open­ing goal came soon af­ter, as Saudi Ara­bia failed to clear a cor­ner and a curl­ing cross in from the left by Golovin picked out an un­marked Gazin­sky to head low into the far cor­ner.

It was a goal that prompted Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin to turn to the Saudi crown prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man, seated along­side FIFA chief Gianni In­fantino, and shake his hand.

Rus­sia l ost Dza­goev to a ham­string i nj ury mid­way through the first half, the CSKA Moscow mid­fielder clutch­ing his ham­string as he crum­pled to the turf.

But his re­place­ment, for­mer Re a l Madr i d w inger C h e r y s h e v, celebrated his re­cent re­call to the na­tional side with Rus­sia’s sec­ond goal t wo min­utes b e f ore half­time.

Ch­ery­shev was still left with plenty of work to do in­side the area af­ter a pass from Roman Zob­nin, bril­liantly flick­ing the ball past two clos­ing de­fend­ers be­fore ri­fling into the roof of the net.

Saudi briefly threat­ened early in the sec­ond half when an invit­ing cross in from the right skipped just be­yond the reach of Taiseer Al-Jas­sam.

Rus­sia then nearly grabbed a third when Ab­dul­lah Al-Muaiouf spilled a low drive from Roman Zob­nin, the Saudi goal­keeper re­cov­er­ing just time in time to nudge t he ball away f rom Smolov.

The f or­ward was s oon re­placed by Dzyuba, who struck al­most im­me­di­ately by head­ing another Golovin cross be­yond a help­less Ab­dul­lah in the 71st minute.

Ch­ery­shev ham­mered in a fourth with the out­side of his left in stop­page time and Golovin capped a mag­nif­i­cent per­for­mance by bend­ing in a last-gasp free­kick.

Rus­sia meet Egypt in their next match on June 19 in Saint Peters­burg, while Saudi Ara­bia will look to re­bound against group favourites Uruguay a day later. – AFP

AF­P­PIX

Rus­sia’s Fe­dor Smolov (left) vies with Saudi Ara­bia’s Yasser Al-Shahrani dur­ing their Rus­sia 2018 World Cup Group A match at the Luzh­niki Sta­dium in Moscow yes­ter­day. – pop­star Rob­bie Wil­liams ap­peared to tell critics that he per­formed yes­ter­day’s...

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.