SAINT PETERSBURG Russia (Xinhua) --
World Cup hosts Russia continued spectacular
performances on Tuesday in their second World Cup group match
with an impressive 3-1 over Egypt although Mohamed Salah
returned to the pitch and worked really hard.
Russia now stand top
of Group A on six points while Uruguay and Saudi Arabia take on
each on Wednesday in the other Group A second round match.
The first goal came
two minutes after beginning of the second half, when Russian
Roman Zobnin’s off-target shot was met by Egyptian captain Ahmed
Fathi. The latter, disrupted by Artem Dzyuba, turned the ball
backward into his own gate.
Then in the 59th
minute, Mario Fernandes blitzed down the right and delivered the
volley to Denis Cheryshev. The Villarreal left winger lashed it
home. It was his third goal at the World Cup.
Two minutes later,
Artem Dzyuba touched the ball with his chest, turned and prodded
it into the bottom right corner of the net.
Fresh from a 5-0
rout of Saudi Arabia, Russia appeared aggressive at the
beginning, trying to dominate the pitch and find some chances in
the Egyptian half.
In the 18th
minute, Cheryshev poked a shot from distance, only to see the
ball flying over the bar. Meanwhile, with Russian defenders
engaging, Liverpool forward Salah only touched the ball five
Egypt, eager for a
victory in their sixth match at the finals, grew into the game
gradually. Before the halftime stroke, Salah, receiving a low
pass from Abdelshafy, swept a left-foot shot but missed the
His first World Cup
goal was in the second half, when he was brought down in the
box. Egyptian players called for VAR before the judge ruled for
a penalty. Salah sent the ball into the net.
After 17 matches,
the World Cup has already seen 10 penalties.
But the goal alone
was not enough to shift the balance.
Russia, who last
advanced into the knockout stage in 1986 as the team of Soviet
Union, moves another step closer to qualifying in the last 16 of
the World Cup.
“We have learned
from our mistakes that did not allow us to be more successful in
the past,” said the coach Stanislav Cherchesov. “We analysed the
situation in terms of preparation and selection of players. Now
we are happy we have two wins on our belt and that we are giving
this joy to our supporters.”
“We have a group of
solidarity. We need to rest well and see who is ready to do what
and prepare ourselves well for the next game,” he said.
While hope for the
Egyptian team, who are in their first World Cup since Italy
1990, was dampened in the rainy evening. In the opening World
Cup Group A match against Uruguay, the Pharaohs lost 1-0. Salah,
who was the recipient of the Premier League Golden Boot in the
2017-18 season, scored 44 goals in all competitions for
Liverpool last season and netted 70 percent of all Egypt’s goals
in qualifying, missed the game due to shoulder injury.
“I think nobody can
deny his importance,” said the Egyptian coach Hector Cuper. “He
was feeling good to play... We would have all preferred his
injury to not occur.”
He said that the
team did well in the first half. “There are 10 to 12 minutes
when we did very badly, making some mistakes. That is why we
lost,” said the 62-year-old Argentinian tactician.
“Our players have
done their best and made enormous efforts,” he said. “I am proud
of them. Maybe we lack a little extra things to win, but I must
recognize the great efforts they had after 20 years in which
Egypt did not take part in the World Cup.”
After the game
between Uruguay and Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, Russia and Egypt
will have their last group match next Monday, before the groups
who will advance to the knockout stage will be finally decided.