Three goals from Russia saw the host side nearly become the first side to book their place in the next round, thus leaving Egypt on the brink of exiting at the first hurdle.
Despite this half ending goalless, there were some chances for both sides in a rather tense affair.
Russia had chances early on with Aleksandr Golovin shooting just wide, and Sergei Ignashevich heading at goal, but got foiled.
Egypt had their chances also with Marwan Mohsen spurning a headed opportunity wide, and a curling effort from Trezeguet being pushed just wide!
With 11 minutes to go until the break, the Pharos scuppered yet another opportunity to be in the lead when a cross from Ahemi Fathia met Mohsen, but the latter failed to finish yet again.
Going into the last few minutes before half-time, Mohsen was giving Egypt fans headaches with his repeated headed attempts at goal, btu with neither of them rippling the net!
Mohamed Salah attempted to score from close range with four minutes to go with a rather interesting piece of footwork, turning Russia defenders inside out, but unfortunately coming to nothing as he pushed his chance wide of the target! What a game-changing goal that would’ve been!
That was a rather tight affair with both sides knowing a win will give them a chance of going through to the next round!
With two minutes of the second half gone, Russia took the lead via an own goal from Fathi. A shot from outside the area by Golovin took a massive deflection off the defender who could only look on as the ball fizzled into his own net.
Denis Cheryshev doubled the lead for his side with 59 minutes played. Figueira Fernandes set-up Cheryshev from close range to score his third goal of the tournament. Egypt were in real trouble here!
If it wasn’t bad enough for Hector Cupers side, it was about to get a whole lot worse when Artem Dzyuba scored to put Sbornaya three goals to the good! Great ball control from the striker who slotted home past Mohamed El-Shenawy. At that point, Egypt were out of sight for the goal-happy side who had scored five past Saudi Arabia in their first game.
Egypt were given an opportunity to get a goal back when Salah was initially adjudged to have been fouled by Roman Zobnin just outside the area, but after a VAR review, the decision was changed to a penalty. It was up to Salah – the star man, to salvage some pride for side. He stepped up, and scored to reduce the deficit despite Igor Akinfeev going the right way.
Despite the late onslaught from Egypt, Russia held on to almost guarantee a spot in the round of 16.
Thoughts on the game
The nervy half was expected as I thought both sides would struggle in the first half, but what happened in the second half was unexpected (in my view). For Egypt to collapse like they did (conceding two in three minutes) was unexpected.
There was controversial moment towards the end of the game where Ilya Kutepov brought down Mohsen in the area, but nothing was given. The way I see it, that was a penalty.
Russia have a date with destiny as a potentially group decider will be played should Uruguay beat Saudi Arabia. Egypt must hope Saudi Arabia beat Uruguay (by at least a goal) if they’re to have any hope of staying in the tournament.
(I’ll put the permutations in the comments as to reduce the word count of this article).