Russia’s delight in their home FIFA World Cup™ continued after a hotly-contested clash with Egypt burst into life in the second half. After a frenetic opening period, lacking the chances the energy and endeavour warranted, Egypt captain Ahmed Fathi handed Russia a gift by deflecting into his own net – already the fifth own-goal at Russia 2018.
Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba then repeated their opening-match heroics by netting twice in three minutes to extinguish almost all of Egypt’s remaining hope. Mohamed Salah struck from the penalty spot, but the Pharaohs must rely on Saudi Arabia doing them a favour to keep their slender chance of progression alive.
After a very even and intense opening, the tide turned with those goals straight after the break. Although the first was bad luck for the Egypt captain, after that there was nothing fortunate about Russia’s three-goal lead. Two great moves sealed the victory: a beautiful run and a pass from Mario Fernandes to help Cheryshev score his third of the tournament, before some great technique from Dzyuba in the box capped off the night. Salah may have jangled some nerves, but the victory was deserved.
It was a justified win for Russia and ultimately Egypt suffered a deserved defeat, having not produced what was necessary. Most of the players didn’t perform as expected and the goals came from some naive defensive mistakes. Most importantly, the Egyptian team lacked the offensive courage needed. The performance did not reflect the importance of the game and leaves their second round hopes hanging by a thread.
Budweiser Man of the Match
Denis Cheryshev – Having picked up the award with his stellar showing in the opening game, the 27-year-old’s dream tournament got better with another impressive performance in the Russia midfield.
350 – Salah’s penalty came after a 350-minute goal drought for Egypt at the World Cup. Their last also came from a spot-kick, against the Netherlands in 1990, being scored by Magdy Abdelghani.
Uruguay v Russia – Group A, 25 June, Samara
Saudi Arabia v Egypt – Group A, 25 June, Volgograd