By Can Erozden
ANKARA (AA) – The 2018 FIFA World Cup hosts Russia hammered Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the Group A match on Thursday.
The opening match of the Russia 2018 was held at Luzhniki Stadium in capital Moscow.
Russia took the lead in the 12th minute when midfielder Yury Gazinsky's header beat Saudi Arabia goalkeeper Abdullah Almuaiouf.
This was the first goal of the tournament.
In the 24th minute of the match, Russia star Alan Dzagoev had to go off due to a thigh injury.
Near the end of the first half, Russia doubled the gap as midfielder Denis Cheryshev skipped opponents in the penalty area and put the ball into Saudi Arabia's net at a close range.
Russia led the first half 2-0.
In the 71st minute, Russia brought the game to 3-0 when forward Artem Dzyuba scored by a header.
In the injury time, Cheryshev found the net by taking a classy shot outside of his left foot, which brought the score to 4-0. This was the second goal by Cheryshev.
Near the end of the game, Russia midfielder Aleksandr Golovin scored from a free-kick, leading to a smooth victory of 5-0.
Russian fans cheered for their team.
Some 78,011 spectators watched the match at the stadium.
Prior to the match, British pop star Robbie Williams performed for the crowd. Also, Russian operatic soprano Aida Garifullina appeared in the pre-match ceremony.
Williams and Garifullina were joined by Brazil's two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo.
Before the kick-off Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the audience.
– Friday June 15 fixtures are as follows:
– Group A:
Egypt – Uruguay at 1200GMT
– Group B:
Morocco – Iran at 1500GMT
Portugal – Spain at 1800GMT