Hosts Russia got off a brilliant start of the 2018 World Cup as they thrashed Saudi Arabia courtesy of goals from Yuri Gazinskiy, Denis Cheryshev (2), Artem Dzyuba and Aleksandr Golovin at the Luzhniki Arena in Moscow.
Gazinsky headed Russia into the lead in the 12th minute after his side camped in their opponents half for quite a while.
Yasser Al-Shahrani had just headed clear for Saudi Arabia two minutes earlier but the Russians persisted, eventually finding the opener.
In the 24th minute, Alan Dzagoev was not able to continue due to his injury and was replaced by Cheryshev.
The substitute with two minutes to half time, doubled Russia’s lead, smashing a shot inside the near post after taking out two Saudi Arabia defenders with a nice bit of skill.
Saudi Arabia seemed to have lost momentum after the break before Dzyuba headed home Russia’s fourth, one that had President Vladmir Putin celebrate in 71st minute.
Dzyuba also a substitute had come on for Fyodor Smolov a minute before his wildly-celebrated goal also his first touch.
Cheryshev further dented Saudi Arabia’s hopes of a comeback when he scored one minute into added time. The son of ex-Gijon forward Dmitri Cheryshev floated the ball into the top corner with a sweet swish of his left boot from the edge of the Saudi penalty area.
Aleksandr Golovin sealed the win in the fifth minute of extra time when he delivered a sublime free-kick, curling the ball around the Saudi wall and wide of the post into the back of the net.
The victory meant Russia get three points on the board and lead group A.