Uruguay thrash Russia to top Group A

SAUDIS PIP EGYPT IN FINAL GROUP TIE

AGENCIES
SAMARA,25th June: Uruguay finished the group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup atop Group A after defeating hosts Russia 3-0 at the Samara Arena on Monday. The score was opened by Uruguay on the 10th minute after Russian midfielder Yury Gazinsky was slapped with a yellow card for a tackle on Matias Vecino near the box of his goal, reported Tass news agency. Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez confidently executed a free-kick curving the ball into the bottom right corner of the Russian net, putting his team in a 1-0 lead over the hosts. Fourteen minutes later, the Uruguayans upped the score to 2-0, when a ball, kicked by midfielder Diego Laxalt, bounced off Denis Cheryshev's leg straight into his own net.

The Uruguayan squad could have scored another goal with Suarez getting an opportunity to go one on one with Igor Akenfeyev, but the Russian goalkeeper blocked the shot. Moments later, Russia's Igor Smolnikov was booked for fouling Vecino. Shortly after receiving his first yellow card, Russia's Smolnikov received another one for chopping down Laxalt and subsequently left his team and the field.

Down to 10 players, Russia was forced to make a reshuffle and scoring midfielder Cheryshev was replaced with full back Mario Fernandes. Although the referee decided for additional two minutes, hosts Russia did not respond and the opening half ended with 2-0 in favour of Uruguay.

The opening fifteen minutes of the second half saw the Uruguayans upping their possession of the ball. The Russians went on rare attacks and the players were looking to pass the ball to Artyom Dzyuba, but he was isolated up in the front by the Uruguayan defence. The score of 2-0 seemed to remain unaltered until the end of the game, but Uruguay's Edinson Cavani was quick to react to the ball in the Russian box and nailed it into the net after it ricocheted off Akenfeyev's hands on the very last minute of the match.

The referee added four minutes to the game time but the score of 3-0 never changed until the final whistle. Both Russia and Uruguay already secured places in the next Round of Last 16, each enjoying wins over opponents in their two previous group stage matches. Uruguay will next play the runners-up of Group B in the last 16 on Saturday in Sochi, while Russia, having finished second will play the winners of Group B in the last 16 on Sunday at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Saudi Arabia ended their FIFA World Cup 2018 campaign on a winning note, edging past Egypt 2-1 in their final Group A game at the Volgograd Arena. With the dead rubber inching towards a 1-1 draw, Saudi's Salem Al Dawsari struck in the additional injury time to help his side notch up their only win in the tournament. Earlier, Mohamed Salah found the back of the net in the 22nd minute to hand Egypt an early lead in the game. However, Saudi's Salman Al Faraj equalised, scoring minutes before the half-time. The game saw Egypt keeper Essam El Hadary make World Cup history when he became the oldest player to appear in the final stage aged 45 years and five months.

Hadary saved a first half penalty from Fahad Almuwallad and produced several excellent stops in the second half but could do nothing to prevent Alburayk's late finish. Having lost both of their opening two clashes, Saudi Arabia and Egypt's World Cup journey ended on Monday.


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