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World Cup: Russia thrash Saudi Arabia 5-0 in opening match

Russia thrashed Saudi Arabia, 5-0, in the opening game of its home World Cup. Yuri Gazinsky scored on a header 12 minutes in, and afterward Saudi Arabia could offer little resistance.

New York Times reports that Russia’s second, third and fourth goals were all by substitutes: one by Artem Dzyuba and two by Denis Cheryshev. With time running out, Aleksandr Golovin got a fifth goal on a free kick, past a badly tired Saudi defense.

Saudi Arabia, a team whose players are virtually all based in their obscure home league, offered an air of mystery. But that was before the game. It became clear very quickly that they were no match for a Russian team that itself has not been a worldbeater in recent years.

Gazinsky’s header foiled the Saudi plan to work the counterattack, and the team seldom got the ball even deep into Russia’s territory after that. Russia itself took over the counterattacking and found the goal at its mercy time and time again.

More troubling to Russia was an apparent hamstring injury to midfielder Alan Dzagoev. But that did allow the team to bring in Cheryshev, who duly scored moments later.

Even at halftime, the Saudis looked broken, and it did not get better. Dzyuba scored on another header, likewise just after entering the game, then Cheryshev added his second in the 90th minute.

If that late goal seemed unfair to the Saudis, it got worse a moment later when Goliovin added No. 5 on a free kick in injury time.

It was the perfect start for the host nation, although its remaining group games, against Egypt and Uruguay, will be much sterner challenges.

As for Saudi Arabia, if it manages even a 2-0 loss, say, in its remaining games, it will seem like an impressive accomplishment.

Dele Fashomi
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Newstide247.com newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.
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