Russia has beaten Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, completely satisfying the odds and bookmakers’ expectations. Sbornaya easily covered the spread at -1.5, but the bookies certainly haven’t anticipated seeing five goals, as the match was ended way in the over of the total of 2.5 goals.
Straight from the kick-off, Russia started with a high pressure on Saudi’s defensive line, and it didn’t take long to see the first goal in Al-Muaiouf’s net. After Golovin’s brilliant cross in the 12th minute of the match, Yury Gazinskiy left unmarked in the box, placing the ball into the net with a nice header. With a one-goal lead, Russia drew back and left the ball possession to Saudi Arabia’s players, waiting for the chance on counter-attacks, while the Green Falcons just couldn’t find the rhythm in their play, making too many mistakes in the middle of the park.
One of these mistakes led to the second goal in the 43rd minute, when Zobnin found Cheryshev in the box, and after a beautiful feint, the 27-year old midfielder hammered the ball into the net. With a two-goal deficit, Saudi Arabia tried to push forward in the second 45 minutes, but they managed to create just one decent opportunity. It was all over in the 71st minute when Aleksandr Golovin made another assist, this time for Artem Dzyuba who’s header was unstoppable for Saudi’s goalkeeper. In the injury time, Russia scored a couple of goals more, as Denis Cheryshev bagged his second of the game, while Aleksandr Golovin made it five with a terrific free-kick.
Sbornaya had the ball on their feet for just 39% of the time, taking 14 shots toward Saudi’s keeper, while the Green Falcons took six shots towards Igor Akinfeev, but none of them went on target. Russia’s manager Stanislav Cherchesov surprised with a 4-5-1 formation, and he’s surely satisfied with the performance, but Alan Dzagoev’s hamstring injury could be a huge blow for Cherchesov’s team. The talismanic midfielder left the pitch after 24 minutes into the opener, and it seems like he’s ruled out for the rest of the World Cup.
Saudi Arabia couldn’t cope with Russia’s physical strength, while the Green Falcons made way too many errors, proving they are one of the weakest team at the 2018 World Cup. The bettors who wagered on the over can be pleased with the final result, while those who bet on a bigger spread are probably ecstatic, as it brought some nice wages. From this point of view, the bettors should expect more of the same from Saudi Arabia, as the odds provided by BetDSI Sportsbook are suggesting them as a clear underdog in this tournament, while the hosts will try to replicate this performance in the next game against Egypt where they will need a win to clinch the second round. However, the bettors should be careful, as the opening demolition job is not a proper benchmark of Russia’s abilities.
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