FIFA World Cup 2018: Russia poised to advance after 3-1 win over Egypt

The hosts have taken six of six points from their first two contests and have a goal differential of plus-7, while Egypt are without a point and have scored only once.

FIFA World Cup 2018: Russia poised to advance after 3-1 win over Egypt
Pic courtesy: EFE-EPA

St. Petersburg, Russia: Host nation Russia look well on the way to qualifying for the knock-out stage of the 2018 World Cup after defeating Egypt 3-1 here Tuesday in the second match for both Group A sides.

Not known for their offensive potency, the Russians proved their 5-0 rout of Saudi Arabia in the opener was no fluke.

The hosts have taken six of six points from their first two contests and have a goal differential of plus-7, while Egypt are without a point and have scored only once.

Uruguay, 1-0 winners over Egypt in the first match, have three points heading into Wednesday's clash with Saudi Arabia.

Star striker Mohamed Salah, who spent Egypt's first match on the bench, was back to lead the Pharaohs against Russia in front of more than 64,000 spectators at St. Petersburg stadium.

The match began with pace, though the Russians displayed better coordination on the attack.

The Pharaohs gained in confidence after Salah's first extended touch on the ball and started menacing the Russian goal.

Neither team dominated during a spell of alternating counter-attacks, but Egypt began to enjoy an edge in possession as the flow of play slowed.

Mohamed Abdelshafy's cross found Salah in good scoring position only for defender Yury Zhirkov to steal the ball away as the Liverpool superstar was preparing to shoot.

A second opportunity materialized moments before the break, when Salah took a pass and spun around before striking the ball with his left foot and sending it just wide of the goal.

Russia returned for the second half energized and took a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute following a chaotic sequence in the Egyptian end.

Egypt keeper Mohamed El-Shenawy punched away a shot from Aleksandr Samedov and the ball dropped to Aleksandr Golovin, who passed toward Artem Dzyuba in front of goal. Attempting to clear, defender

Ahmed Fathy misfired and sent the ball backward into his own net.

The second Russia goal came 12 minutes later courtesy of Denis Cheryshev, already a fan favorite after coming off the bench to get a brace against Saudi Arabia.

And the hosts weren't finished. Artem Dzyuba, another hero of the first match, used his chest to control a long ball from Ilya Kutepov, eluded Egypt defender Ali Gabr, and beat El-Shenawy to boost Russia's lead to 3-0.

Egypt battled on and Trezeguet squandered a chance with poor finishing before Salah converted from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute after Roman Zobnin brought him down in the box.

Marwan tried to win another penalty after an encounter with Kutepov, but the referee rejected his pleas and the Russians saw out the match.

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