Stadium: Krestovsky Stadium, St. Petersburg
The hosts would never have imagined it before the start of the tournament but it looks almost certain that they’re the first team to advance to the Round of 16 unless there is an unusual turn of events. This game marked the first game of the 2nd round of the FIFA World Cup, which was a must win for Egypt. But the record African cup of nations champions were baffled by Russian ruthlessness as they went down 3-1.
The Russians were fast and inventive as the match started, but after the play of 25 minutes Egypt looked like making a way back in the game. But as the second half kicked off things got different again as their captain knocked the ball in the wrong net. The next goal came from the man whose world cup campaign kicked off in the last match at the expense of star man Dzagoev’s injury, Denis Cheryshev. He provided inspiration to the Russians yet again.
Minutes later, marksman Dzyuba who also scored in the last game as a substitute notched his 2nd of the tournament and the fans went wild. Salah did get a goal back from the penalty spot after VAR’s intervention but that only prove to be a consolation. To know the match in details, keep reading below.
2’ – Trezeguet loses possession to Russia’s hero of the last match, Cheryshev but his pass fails to find Dzyuba.
6’ – SAVE! A corner is worked short as Samedov finds Ignashevich but his header is collected collectively by El Shenawy.
13’ – First time in the game Salah tries to impose himself on the Russian defence but is eventually dispossessed.
19’ – MISS! Cheryshev’s shot from outside the area goes over the bar.
26’ – An opener for the hosts is looming as they dominate possession and try to make their way through, just lacking the final ball.
34’ – Zhirkov manages to keep the ball out before reaching Salah for a tap-in from a corner.
35’ – MISS! Mohsen manages to get a header in, rising above his marker but sees his effort go wide.
42’ – MISS! Salah gets the ball in the box and turns quickly, sending a defender the wrong way before unleashing a curling effort that goes just wide of the left hand post. That’s the closest Egypt have come so far, and through their star man!
47’ – GOAL! Russia take the lead through Egypt’s captain Fathy as he clumsily puts a low shot into his own net.
57’ – Egypt’s Hassan picks up the first yellow card of the game.
59’ – GOAL! Russia score again and it’s a beautiful goal. Fernandes receives the ball before making room as he cuts back from the right and Cheryshev makes no mistake. It’s his 3rd goal in 2 games already as he draws level with Cristiano Ronaldo.
62’ – GOAL! It’s 3-0 Russia, and qualification is within sight! Dzyuba shows excellent composure and control as he slots a great finish in the bottom right corner of the net.
64’ – Egypt make their first change as Warda replaces Elneny.
68’ – Another substitution for Egypt as Trezeguet makes way for Sobhi.
73’ – Penalty! VAR confirms it’s a penalty after the referee adjudged the foul on Salah to be outside the box.
74’ – GOAL! Salah dispatches the ball expertly from the spot and makes it 1-3 to Egypt.
75’ – It’s the first change for the hosts as Cheryshev makes way for Kuzyaev.
79’ – Another change is made by Russia as Smolov is introduced in place of Dzyuba.
82’ – The final change for Egypt sees Kahraba coming in for the striker Mohsen.
84’ – Smolov picks up a yellow card for a ‘professional’ foul to stop an Egyptian counter attack.
86’ – Russia also have their final change as Kudryashov replaces Zhirkov.
Full Time : Russia 3 – Egypt 1
Samedov (***): The Spartak Moscow winger has a lot of experience under his belt and produced a performance to match his reputation. He had 74 touches on the ball, made 42 accurate passes, 10 crosses and 3 key passes besides winning 6 duels and 2 fouls.
Mohamed Salah (*): After being sidelined with a shoulder injury and missing the opener he started this crucial match, perhaps risking his condition a bit. He had a poor game aside from the penalty goal. He could make just 16 passes, lost 6 duels and struggled to link up with his teammates.
Denis Cheryshev – The Villarreal man made his presence felt again for the hosts as he found his 3rd goal in just 2 games drawing level with Cristiano Ronaldo in the race to the Golden Boot. He also had a solid game in midfield and won 6 duels, 2 tackles besides 2 interceptions.
Viewer Rating: ***
The game was a real entertainer. The first half looked evenly matched as Egypt made their way back and played some fearless football as it ended 0-0. The second half produced 4 goals and we saw some impressive attacking from the hosts.
Russia might just be the first team to make it to the knockouts. They’ve scored 8 goals already and certainly look great as a unit. Meanwhile, it’s disappointing for Egypt and it looks like an early exit for the land of Pharaohs. Salah did score their first goal in a world cup in 28 years but it was not enough to bail out his country.
This match implies that should Uruguay win the next match vs minnows Saudi Arabia, they will proceed to the knockout stages along with Russia. Group A might just be the first group to be decided, but until then Egypt are still in it mathematically.