Russia rips Saudi Arabia 5-0 in World Cup opener
MOSCOW -- Denis Cheryshev scored twice as Russia swept aside Saudi Arabia to open its home World Cup with a 5-0 win on Thursday.
After a lavish opening ceremony and with President Vladimir Putin watching on, Yuri Gazinsky put Russia ahead with a header off Alexander Golovin's cross in the 12th minute.
Substitute Cheryshev chipped the ball over two Saudi defenders in the 43rd and then fired it high to goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf's right.
Artyom Dzyuba made an instant impact off the bench to make it 3-0 in the 71st with a header off Golovin's cross. In stoppage time, Cheryshev chipped the ball in for Russia's fourth goal in stoppage time and Golovin scored from a free kick.
It was Russia's first World Cup win since 2002 and ended a seven-game winless run in all matches.
A general view during the opening ceremony before the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Russia and Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14, 2018. (Photo by Juan Mabromata / AFP)
The other two teams in Group A, Egypt and Uruguay, will play on Friday, along with the four teams in Group B — Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Iran.