The most creative player on the park, Golovin rolled the ball to Zobnin but he dawdled and played a poor pass to Denis Cheryshev, who had been completely free on goal.
Can Russia keep it up? If they can do likewise against Egypt next week, they have an excllent chance of making the knockout stages.
Roman Zobnin sent a header over soon afterwards - but Russian Federation saved the best until last as Cheryshev swerved a glorious effort into the top corner with his right foot in added time, and there was still time for to Golovin to bend in a magnificent free kick in the closing seconds. Subs: Hatan 6, Fahad 6, Muhannad 6.
The opening goal came after just 12 minutes and it told the story of the whole game. It picks out Gazinski at the back post, and he shoves Taiseer before guiding a fine header into the far corner for his first global goal! As half-time approached the substitute made it 2-0.
The Green Falcons kept playing their crisp passing game and Salem Al-Dawsari got under his first-time shot from 25 yards out on 28 minutes after good build-play on the right, while Al-Sahlawi sent a looping header well over the crossbar from free-kick on the right three minutes later. When Golovin gets on the ball just outside the box, Chershev has hectares to his left. Cheryshev cut inside and took a touch as two defenders dived in, selling themselves completely. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia needs to figure out how it is going to stop anybody. Nice interplay down the right between Fernandes and Zobanin allowed Golovin to cross, and he picked out the new kid in the middle as the Saudi defence disintegrated, but even so, the backleaning header, across the keeper, was very nicely administered.
It would get better in stoppage time as Cheryshev scored a stunner with the outside of his left foot, then Golovin curled home a lovely free kick to make it 5-0. And what a finish he delivers, bent into the far top corner with the outside of his right foot like it's nothing (it is not nothing).
As Russian President Vladimir Putin called for nations to set aside their differences and pop star Robbie Williams featured in a musical opening ceremony, Russia made a dream start to the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a thumping 5-0 victory in their opening game against Saudi Arabia.
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