Russia defeated Egypt 3-1 in their second group game late on Tuesday firming their slot for in the Round of 16 with two back to back victories earning them a top spot with 6 points. Egypt, who took the field with semi-fit striker Mohamad Salah now faces an uphill task to stay in the world cup after its two successive defeats and just one game to go in the group stage
Russia fired three goals in the space of 15 minutes early in the second half to cement its place in the next round after scoring another big win following its 5-0 drubbing of Saudi Arabia in their opener.
The drama began in the 47th minute after Ahmed Fathi’s outstretched leg turned the ball into his own net giving Russia its first.
12 minutes later, Alexander Samedov pushed the ball out wide to Mario Fernandes, the Brazilian born right back who delivered a perfect pull-back into the path of Denis Cheryshev who netted home second goal for the hosts.
Cheryshev has now scored three goals in tournament, in line with World no. 1 Cristiano Ronaldo.
And two minutes later it was 3-0 and Russians firmly in the saddle after Artem Dzyuba bustled past Egyptian keeper Ali Gabr.
Egypt took the field to win and remain in the contest blooding in semi-fit Mohamed Salah who had not played since picking injury in Liverpool’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid last month.
And it was Salah who scored a consolation goal for the Egypt when he converted a penalty kick after a video assistant referee (VAR) ruling.
On the whole it was a satisfactory performance for Russia who are now leading Group A with six points and a goal difference of Plus 7.
“Well, my thoughts are quite straightforward. We needed the win in order to reach our target. It is clear that the Egyptians also needed to win in order to maintain their chances and we also wanted to win…” Russian Coach Stanislav Cherchesov said.
Egypt, who will Saudi in their next and last group game now have very slim chances of staying in the tournament.
“I think it would take too long to compare teams and look at their chances. Russia has demonstrated that they are a strong team, a very hard working team, there’s no doubt about that…,” Hector Cuper, Egyptian coach said.
In the three World Cups that Russia has qualified for — 1994, 2002 and 2014 — they have finished third or below in the group stages. But at home soil it looks set to qualify in the Round of 16 after its victory against Egypt and one more game to go against Uruguay.
(With inputs from Agencies)