MOSCOW — Host Russia secured the biggest World Cup opening match win since 1934, as it raced to a 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Thursday, with rising star Aleksandr Golovin at the heart of the home team’s best moves.
With the eyes of the world on the Luzhniki Stadium, the largest nation on Earth kicked off the biggest tournament with a faded British pop star giving way to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who plans to use the World Cup as a month-long pulpit to address outsiders’ perception of Russia.
Thousands of Russian and foreign fans had turned out to watch the World Cup opener in a Moscow fan zone. A crowd of some 10,000 people, including many families with young children, crowded onto the hill above the stadium with giant screens set up to watch the game.
Russia’s Iury Gazinsky scored after 12 minutes and Cheryshev, who himself suffered an injury-plagued season, added a second goal before the break after coming on as an injury replacement for Alan Dzagoev.
Flag-waving supporters from all over the world let out huge cheers and chanted ‘Russia!’ as the host team scored twice in the first half at the city’s Luzhniki Stadium.
Russia again in the second half looked the more penetrating team, with Golovin reprising his cross for another calm headed finish from substitute Artyom Dzyuba to safeguard the win, to the instant relief of embattled coach Stanislav Cherchesov.
As Saudi Arabia lost all semblance of organization, Cheryshev turned a win into a thrashing with a stunning outside-of-the-foot shot in the dying moments, and Golovin once again stole the headlines with a trademark free kick with the last touch of the game.
PM congratulates Nepali national cricket team
KATHMANDU— Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has congratulated Nepali national cricket team for being able to clinch the International T20 series.
PM Oli in a tweet extended best wishes and congratulations saying he was very happy to know Nepal’s win over the UAE by 14 runs in the third match of the series.
Winning T20 series is another landmark success for Nepali cricket, he said, adding, “It is big achievement for Nepal’s cricket. I would like to heartily congratulate entire members of Nepali cricket squad”.