June 14 (UPI) — Forward Denis Cheryshev scored after a first touch during Russia’s World Cup opener against Saudi Arabia Thursday in Moscow.
Cheryshev came on as a substitute, replacing the injured Alan Dzagoev in the 24th minute. He received a pass from Fyodor Smolov on the play after the Russian forward found himself surrounded by a group of Saudi defenders.
He slipped the ball to his left, finding an open Cheryshev in the 43rd minute. The Russian forward used his first touch to stop the ball, while also chipping it over a pair of sliding defenders. He used his next touch to tap the ball over to his left boot and finished with a rocket into the near post netting, beating Saudi keeper Abdullah Al-Mayouf for Russia’s second score of the game.
The Russians carried a 2-0 lead into the break. Russia got its first goal from midfielder Yury Gazinsky in the 12th minute. Gazinsky got that score by guiding a header into the far post netting off of a feed from Aleksandr Golovin.
The World Cup hosting Russians battle Egypt in their second match in Group A at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Saint Petersburg Stadium. Saudi Arabia faces Uruguay at 11 a.m. Wednesday in its second match in Group A.