Inspired Russia beats Egypt 3-1, close-in on knock-out stage

Mazino Dickson

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The fairy tale of hosts Russia continued as the hosts roared on by thousands of supporters beat Egypt 3-1 to get closer to the second round of the World Cup.

Being the least ranked nation at the mundial, the Russians had to prove that their 5-0 trouncing of Saudi Arabia last Thursday was no fluke.

After a first half that ended goalless, reliable wing-back Ahmed Fathi inadvertently scored an own-goal under pressure from giant Russian forward Dzyuba two minutes after the break to hand the hosts a shock lead.

Sensing Egyptian confusion, the Russians rushed to a two-goal lead in the 59th minute.

Fernandes made a burst down the right, delivered a clever shimmy and a nice pull back for Cheryshev who side-footed a low shot into the net from seven yards past Al-Sharnawy.

It was three in the 61st minute as Russia’s target man Dzyuba  took a long punt down on his chest at the edge of the area, turned and fired a canon to send thousands of home fans at the St.Petersburg stadium into a state of disbelief and wonder.

Not even president Vladimir Putin could have expected such a complete, professional performance.

Despite a great penalty goal from returning Mohammed Salah in the 73rd minute, it was not to be for the Pharaohs as the Russians always looked stronger, better positioned and showed utter comfort on the ball throughout the match.

Russia have scored 8 goals and conceded 1, making them one of the highest scoring sides in this World Cup.

It was also the first time Russia won two first round matches in the mundial since 1966.

Egypt may have lost again, but they have to wait to see if Saudi Arabia can do them a big favour by either holding or beating Uruguay in the second group match on Wednesday.

So it’s not yet over for Salah and company.