FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia vs Saudi Arabia Live Blog

Saudi Arabia kick off and  push forward up the left through Yasser. Very loud start from the home fans. Russia repel the raid, Samedov takes it forward and is tripped. Free kick. 

Russia keep probing up the right, win a throw in and hurl it into the box for Dzagoev who tries to hook his leg round for a horizontal volley but can't get his leg high enough before Omar blocks him. Russia corner. 

Zhirkov takes to the near post and it's headed clear by Yasser Alshahrani and Russia cautiously wotk it all the way back to Akinfeev who whacks it almost the full length of the field. 

Saudi throw 10 metres inside the Russia half on the right. They can't hold onto possession as Russia snap at them and they retreat back to Abdullah in goal. 

Out comes the Saudi keeper after they return to him once more, bombing Neuere like out of his box to welly it upfield hastily with Smolov bearing down on him. Yasser Alshahrani picks it up and stretches the Russian defence on their right again. 

Almost a successful raid from Russia when Dzagoev sprints down the left, centres to Smolov who lays it off for the shot from Samedov that is blocked by Alburayk. Both sides look enterprising and confident so far. 

Russia again make progress down the left, Dzagoev and Zhirkov teaming uo well to win a corner but then Zhirkov monstrously overhits his corner almost out of play on the other side and Saudi Arabia break like the wind through Alshahrani but he has no target by the time he runs out of time so hoofs it over the box in the hit and hope style. 

Gazinsky goes on a mazy run from halfway, veering left, tacking right then threading a delightful pass through to Dzagoev whose shot is turned behind for a corner. 

A header from the keeper's left. 

A goal from the corner, played short and then an outswinging left-foot cross is met by Garzinsky's cushioned header. Taiseer falls in front of the scorer, no foul, and the midfielder heads it in. Saudi Arabia's crown prince and Vladimir Putin shake hands. 

Russia attack down the right, an offside unpunished, and Dzagoev's blocked shot, during which he cracks his head in a collision, balloons up and Abdullah dives to his right to claw t away. 

17 min 

It's all Russia now, Dzagoev and Smolov linking up with intelligent movement and excellent control so far. Alburayk has a moment of relative calm and has a run up the right but the ball is not sticking up front and back it comes to the Saudi back four. The No5, Omar Hasawi, hits a very careless pass to Samedov but he can't trap it. 

20 min 

A rare chance for Saudi Arabia through a break when Alsahlawi leads a counter-attack, hares towards the box and has his daisy-cutter of a shot turned behind by Zobnin. Here's Russia's goal.

22 min 

Oh no! Russia's golden boy Dzagoev, prince of Alans, has twanged his hamstring after leading the break from the well-defended corner. He's gone down clutching his left thigh and that looks like curtains for him. 


24 min 

Former Real Madrid wunderkind Denis Cheryshev replaces Dzagoev. Dens 1-0 Alans. 

26 min 

Dzagoev's departure has dampened the spark momentarily. Alburayk, galloping up the right, is picked off by Cheryshev who hurtles 60m upfield but he slips before he can cross properly, as he runs out of steam, and hooks it straight at Osama Hasawi. Saudi Arabia keep giving the ball away. Putin and Mohammad bin Salman are palling up in the stand. Unctuousness prevails. 

28 min

Russia are caught by the offside trap after Smolov slides a pass through the inside-left channel. Free-kick, taken long and Saudi attack up the right. Zhirkov steps across Alsahlawi to thwart his run and Saudi Arabia have a free-kick, about 2m outside the box by the right angle.

30 min Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

Salman Alfaraj takes, bending it in with his left foot and Yasser stoops to head and steers it over the bar. 

33 min Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

Too many times Saudi's defenders give the ball away – the principal culprit Omar Hawsawi. 'He's having a 'mare' is the ever astute Glenn Hoddle's thought. But Osama bails him out by tackling Smolov who tried to beguile him with a stop-start Ronaldo taunting run up the byline. 

35 min Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

End-to-end, Russia defending Saudi Arabia's raid and bombing forward themselves, quick forward passes helping them into the box where Zobnin goes down under Osama's challenge. The referee immediately says fair tackle, which it was. Perfectly timed, too. 

38 min Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

Yasser Alshahrani has an exquisite first touch. He brings down a walloped goal kick on his left instep and drives forward up the left. His pass, though, is not worthy of the cushioned trap and Russia bring it upfield. 

40 min Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia

Russia, too, do the first things well, winning the ball back and heading 60m towards goal in co-ordinated fashion yet the killer pass, that would have opened the way through for Smolov down the inside-left, was hammered too long. 

42 min Russia 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Cheryshev displays all that youthful promise when he spins Osama with a drag back when he was played in down the left by the excellent Zhirkov but he overran his own lay-off …

GOAL! Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia
Cheryshev makes amends!

44 min Russia 2-0 Saudi Arabia
That's terrific ball skill from Cheryshev. Golovin fortunately picks up a deflected pass and he moves it forward to give Russia a three v two up the right. Zobnin's run across the 18m line from the right committed three defenders before he slipped a fine pass to Cheryshev who took a touch which wrongfooted Alburayk who fell to the floor. Cheryshev then composed himself and smashed a left-foot riser over Abdullah's attempt to close him down. 

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