Ten minutes before the break, Salem Al-Dawsari embarked on a risky run for Saudi Arabia but was crowded out, and moments later Russian Federation appealed in vain for a penalty when Smolov went down under Osama Hawsawi's challenge. Yury Gazinsky was given a free header he accepted it with pleasure.
Host country Russia just put the game out of reach, scoring a third goal against Saudi Arabia in the second half of the first game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. Ah yes, and an aggressive first-half performance from Russian Federation set the tone for a thumping win over an unfathomably miserable Saudi Arabia, arranging them a win over a tentative Saudi Arabia, whose propensity for giving the ball away unnecessarily and total lack of intensity, defensive discipline and attacking edge ultimately proved to be their undoing. Several chances were squandered before the home side made them pay for their generosity. The defender picked out Mohammed Al-Sahlawi, but Sergey Ignashevich intervened to clear the danger.
And on 43 minutes the Green Eagles were plucked. Then, just as the game was phutting to a conclusion, Cheryshev waved the outside of his right boot to conjure a fourth goal, and just before full-time, Golovin's glorious free-kick gave him the goal his performance deserved. Osama Hawsawi failed to deal with a pass aimed in Fedor Smolov's direction and Aleksandr Golovin beat his man in a race to the loose ball.
Luckily, Cheryshev did his team-mate a favour by lifting the ball over one challenge, stepping inside another and drilling the ball past Abdullah.
Substitute Denis Cheryshev scored two goals, while Golovin, Gazinskiy and Dzyuba also got their name on the score sheet as the host dominated the opposition. It was his first touch, having come on for the ineffective Smolov a minute before.
Will Russia continue their dominance in second half or will Saudi make strong comeback.
Two goals in added time and a grinning Putin shrugged.
What: Russia will play Saudi Arabia in a Group A game at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.