World Cup 2018: Cavani off the mark as Uruguay beat Russia to top spot

Deutsche Welle
9 Min Read

Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani both got on the scoresheet as Uruguay claimed top spot in Group A courtesy of a 3-0 win over host nation Russia. Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia claimed a last-gasp win over Egypt.With both sides already guaranteed a place in the knockout stages of the World Cup 2018, the two-time winners of the competition made a commanding start before Luis Suarez broke the deadlock with a superb free-kick ten minutes into the game.

The early opener led to a scrappy affair, but with Russia held to half chances it was Uruguay who pressed their advantage when Diego Laxalt’s 25-yard effort was deflected past his own keeper by Denis Cheryshev.

Russia’s job got all the harder when Igor Smolnikov was sent off for two yellow cards after 36 minutes, but it could be argued their performance improved after being reduced to ten men.

The hosts kept Suarez and Cavani quiet at one end, while at the other, Artem Dzyuba wasted Russia’s best chance when he sliced wide after a mistake by Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera.

There was, however, a late twist in the tale following Russia’s second-half rally when Edinson Cavani wrapped up the win in the 90th minute, poking home after Diego Godin’s header had been saved.

While Uruguay top Group A, this result will serve as a stark reality check for the host nation who had been flying high after their wins over Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Saudi Arabia snatch victory

In Group A’s other game, Saudi Arabia snatched a last-gasp winner to complete a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Egypt.

Mohamed Salah’s second goal of the tournament gave Egypt the lead their early dominance had deserved, but the Liverpool player was to by outshone by teammate Essam El-Hadary.

The Egyptian keeper not only became the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup, but also saved Fahad Al-Muwallad’s penalty. However, when Saudi Arabia were awarded a second spot kick before the break, he was unable to repeat his heroics against Salman Al-Faraj.

After chances were wasted at either end in the second half it seemed as if both sides were destined to depart the competition without a win to their name. That all changed in the 95th minute though when Salem Al-Dawsari pounced on a loose ball in the box to net the winner with the last kick of the game.

As it happened:

FT Uruguay 3-0 Russia, Saudi Arabia 2-1 Egypt.

90’+5 GOAL! Saudi Arabia 2-1 Egypt — Saudi Arabia have won it at the death! Salem gets forward and lashes a volley low into the bottom corner. What a moment for the Saudis!

90’+1 There will be four added minutes.

90′ GOAL! Uruguay 3-0 Russia — Cavani has his goal! Godin heads Torreira’s corner at goal. It’s saved by Akinfeev, but Cavani is in the right place at the right time to tap in from close range.

87′ Torreira’s corner almost bends in, with Akinfeev clawing it away from under the bar.

82′ Cavani has a shot deflected over. He just can’t get that goal.

78′ Rodriguez lets fly with a thumping shot from distance that Akinfeev does well to punch clear.

74′ Chance for Russia after a lapse in concentration by Muslera, whose clearance goes straight to Zobin, who finds Dzyuba, but his shot is high, wide, and not very handsome.

70′ Still 1-1 between Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Can Egypt pull off their first ever World Cup win?

66′ Cavani is becoming increasingly desperate for a goal. He waltzes down the left and into a shooting position, but bangs his shot well wide.

62′ Cavani claiming a penalty but the contact between him and Ignashevich was minimal at best.

58′ Bentancur combines well with Caceras and sees his shot blocked. Bentancur then goes into the book for crashing into Zobnin.

54′ Russia probing a little for a route back into the game, but Uruguay pretty comfortable as they sit back and soak it up.

50′ This game already seems to be drifting towards a forgone conclusion. Uruguay topping the group and Russia happy not to suffer further damage.

SECOND HALF: We’re back underway.

HT Uruguay 2-0 Russia, Saudi Arabia 1-1 Egypt.

45’+6 GOAL! Saudi Arabia 1-1 Egypt — This time the penalty beats Elhadary and Saudi Arabia are level on the stroke of half time. Al Faraj with the goal.


44′ Russia are ending the half strongly, but they have a huge mountain to climb. A man down, and two goals down as we approach the break.

42′ SAVED! Fahad Al Mulwallad’s penalty is saved by Elhadary, who brilliantly palms it on to the bar. What a stop by the Egypt keeper!

40′ PENALTY TO SAUDI ARABIA! VAR confirms a handball in the box and Saudi Arabia have a chance from the spot.

36′ SMOLKINOV IS SENT OFF! Russia’s misery is compounded with a red card! The defender is penalised for a late lunge on Laxalt. That’s his second yellow, and an early bath. Russia in big trouble.

27′ Cavani is yet to even touch the ball in the Russia box, underlining how clinical Uruguay have been.

24′ GOAL! Uruguay 2-0 Russia — Uruguay have doubled their lead! A long shot by Laxalt deflects off Cheryshev and completely wrong foots Akinfeev in the Russia goal. Uruguay are already two goals to the good, the hosts are not happy.

19′ GOAL! Saudi Arabia 0-1 Egypt — Salah puts the Egyptians ahead! A long ball forward and Salah just lifts it over the keeper.

14′ Chance for Russia from a corner but Dzyuba, whose shirt was being tugged, heads over the top.

13′ Saudi Arabia continue to dominate, but there’s not much in it in Volgograd.

10′ GOAL! Uruguay 1-0 Russia — Suarez puts Uruguay ahead! A brilliant free-kick by Luis Suarez, who bends a low shot into the bottom corner. Class from the Barcelona striker.

7′ Saudi Arabia are on top in the game in Volgograd, just probing and pushing for an opener against the Egyptians.

4′ Russia have made the stronger start here, Uruguay being forced into some defensive work early on.

1′ KICK OFF — We’re underway in Volgograd and Samara.

Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt team news:

Mo Salah recovered from a shoulder injury to score from the spot against Russia, and starts again for Egypt in Volgograd.

Uruguay vs. Russia team news:

Dennis Cheryshev, who has already scored three goals at the World Cup so far, starts for the hosts, while Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani lead the line for the South Americans.

Welcome to DW’s live coverage of Uruguay vs. Russia from Group A.
With both teams having already qualified for the last-16, it now comes to down to a play-off for top spot. We’ll also have live score updates from the group’s other game between Saudi Arabia and Egypt, who will each be looking to go home on a high with their first win, despite having already been knocked out.

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