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Russia 5-0 Saudi Arabia

FT: There was little expectation ahead of this game from the locals but boy did their team deliver. Saudi Arabia were - in truth - very mediocre but Russia showed plenty of quality in forward areas and put on a show. Cheryshev grabbed two while Golovin, Dzyuba and Gazinskiy also got in on the act.

GOAL! RUSSIA 5-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Golovin, 90+3)

FIVE STARS FOR RUSSIA! IT'S ANOTHER STUNNER.

A free-kick from 25 yards is curled precisely into the top corner via the right boot of Golovin. He deserves that - looks a player. Vodka sales will be up this evening in Moscow. What a start!

GOAL! RUSSIA 4-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Cheryshev, 90+1)

RUSSIA 3-0 SAUDI ARABIA

90: Three minutes added on here.

88: YELLOW! Golovin is the first man to have his name taken. For a pointless trip on Al Faraj in midfield.

RUSSIA 3-0 SAUDI ARABIA

86: This result leaves Stanislav Cherchesov’s men in a strong position to qualify for the last-16 and uphold the strong record of hosts at major international tournaments - 20 of 21 host teams have progressed from their group!

RUSSIA 3-0 SAUDI ARABIA

82: BLOCK! Al Sahlawi breaks free down the right edge and cuts inside. It opens up for him but the old boy Ignashevich gets his body in the way. What a return to international football. He's been very solid - could have played in pre-match suit. Not been troubled.

RUSSIA 3-0 SAUDI ARABIA

79: This one looks over as a contest now. Russia could get a few more if they fancy it. Good chance to get the goal difference up...

RUSSIA 3-0 SAUDI ARABIA

75: A Mexican Wave is sent around the stadium - which is a bit harsh on their team. They've been more entertaining than that suggests.

GOAL! RUSSIA 3-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Dzyuba, 72)

What an impact! He scores with his first touch.

Zobnin again finds space just outside the area and has all the time in the world to curl a clever ball into the big man. He's only eight yards out and easily rises above his defender to divert a header into the bottom corner. The perfect start for the Russians.

RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA

70: SUB! Dzyuba - all six feet, five inches of him - replaces Smolov, who will be dissapointed not to have added to his international goals.

RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA

68: SHOT! Saudi Arabia are tiring here. Zobnin finds a huge amount of space about 20 yards out and hits a low effort. Al Muaiouf gets down but can't hold on...Smolov tries to bundle in the rebound but it's deflected clear.

65: CHANCE! Golovin makes good yards down the left and digs a cross out. Cheryshev gets in front of his marker but his header loops straight into Al Muaiouf's arms.

RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA

64: SUB! Attacking change: Otayf off, Al Muwallad on.

RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA

62: Russia very happy to allow the Asian side to have the ball here. When they nick it, they get into Golovin who tries to break.

RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA

59: CHANCE! Al Sahlawi sends in a in-swinging free-kick that causes problems. Al Faraj wins the header but flicks it over the bar from 15 yards. It was a tough opportunity but one clinical players usually test the goalkeeper with. Akinfeev has hardly had a touch.

RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA

56: CHANCE!! Better from Al Dawsari down the right. He wastes no time in whipping a ball into the mixer and Ignashevich looks his age as he tries to turn. The ball curls across the six yard box but Al Sahlawi can't quite get a touch to push it goalbound.

RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA

52: SHOT! Yet more poor passing from The Green Falcons. Golovin this time nips in and attacks through the middle. He lets fly from 22 yards....a couple of yards over. Should have done better.

RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA

49: Slow start here with Russia allowing Saudi Arabia to come onto them before hitting on the break.

So, let's have a look at Robbie in action.

RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA

46: Here we go! We are back - can Saudi Arabia lift themselves or will Russia put their foot down?

HT: The hosts are up and running here. They've punished Saudi Arabia, who look lightweight and very awkward with the ball. It's been a decent encounter, set alight by goals from Gazinskiy and Cheryshev. Hard to see this one being turned around. See you in 15.

GOAL! RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Cheryshev, 43)

Breathing space - and they deserve it. Saudi Arabia have been so so sloppy with the ball.

A quick ball forward finds Russia with a three-on-two. Smolov works the ball to the spare man who is Cheryshev but the ball is a poor one. However, the striker skillfully dinks the ball over the sliding defender then powers an effort into the roof of the net. Classy finish from the substitute - his first goal for his country.

GOAL! RUSSIA 2-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Cheryshev, 43)

Golovin nicks possession and works a two-on-two. He has Smolov making a clever run but the pass is punted 15 yards ahead of his mate. So poor.

PENALTY APPEAL...NOT GIVEN! Smolov drives into the area and tries to take on Hawsawi on the outside. The big defender sticks out a leg and toes the ball away. Smolov wants the pen but the referee had a great position. VAR not needed.

Real lack of quality on show here. Smolov pulls out to the left and takes on Al Shahrani. He tries a flip-flap by the touchline but gets it all wrong.

THE OPENER

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CHANCE! Good work by Al Sahlawi - he wins a foul of Zhirkov about five yards outside the box on the right. He whips a buzzy free-kick into the box...Hawsawi gets up but his header balloons well over the crossbar.
SHOT! Al Faraj works it through midfield and finds Al Dawsari about 30 yards out. He tries a spectacular effort on the turn but gets it all wrong. Miles over.

Nice introduction by Cheryshev - Saudi Arabia try to play out and get caught. Cheryshev attacks down the left, beats two men but his low cross is scrambled clear.

INJURY! Russia break with a three-on-three but Dzagoev pulls up holding his hamstring - clearly torn the muscle. He limps off.

SUB! He is replaced by Cheryshev.

CLOSE! Al Dawsari finds space down the left and bursts clear. He chips a hopeful ball into the area which Al Sahlawi attacks with Kutepov. The ball spins just wide of the post.
Better from Saudi Arabia - they've weathered the storm and have got up the pitch. Their passing is slick but they lack quality.

SAVE! The visitors need a moment here - Russia are hunting a second. A break down the right finds Smolov at the near post. He flicks one towards the far corner but Al Muaiouf is alert to it. He spectacularly palms it clear.
We have our first goal of Russia 2018 - and fittingly it goes to the hosts. They've been upping the tempo and Saudi Arabia have crumbled.

Golovin finds half a yard on the right and whips a ball towards the back post. There are three Russians waiting against Al Shahrani, who slips at vital time. It leaves Gazinskiy with the task of heading home, which he does.

GOAL! RUSSIA 1-0 SAUDI ARABIA (Gazinskiy, 12)

9: Russia finding their stride. Golovin beats his man on the outside and forces a corner. It's a deep one but headed clear by Al Shahrani.

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