By Chux Odoh
The third round of matches in Group A have been completed with Uruguay maintaining their hundred percent record in the tournament as they defeated hosts Russia 3 – 0. With Egypt and Saudi Arabia already knocked out of the tournament, Uruguay and Russia had all to play in the battle for who tops the group.
The South Americans looked the better team in the game against the hosts, even with the intimidating presence of the home fans at the Samara Arena. Luis Suarez opened the scoring the 10th minute of the game with a masterfully taken freekick to the to the bottom right corner, far from the reach of goalkeeper Akinfeev.
It wasn’t long after that before the Uruguayans got their second goal of the game in the 23rd minute. The Russian defence failed to properly deal with a corner kick which landed well for Laxalt who took a strike that was deflected unfortunately into the goal by Denis Cheryshev.
Things got worse for the Russians in the 36th minute’ after Igol Smolnikov was sent off for a second bookable offence after a foul on Laxalt. The red card prompted the coach to make a change, removing midfielder Denis Cheryshev for right back Mario Fernandes.
The Russians made several changes in the second half as they sort to change the tide of the game but didn’t prove to be successful as Uruguay held on tenaciously to their two-goal lead with a man advantage.
Edison Cavani put the final nail in the coffin with a 90th-minute goal. Diego Godin headed in a corner by Giorgian De Arrascaeta which looked destined for the back of the net but goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev saves it! However, Cavani was present to deal with the rebound.
In the other game which was played simultaneously at the Volgograd Arena, Saudi Arabia defeated the Egyptians 2 goals to 1 to end their world cup journey with a win. Egypt’s Mohammed Salah also got a goal for himself to make sure he registered his name in the 2018 world cup scorers chart.