Cavani Scores In Third Finals As Uruguay Win Group A Exposing Russia

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Edinson Cavani equalled his international team-mate Luis Suarez’s record of scoring at three different World Cups (2010, 2014 and 2018) when he scored Uruguay’s third goal in today’s comfortable 3-0 win over the hosts Russia in Group A in Samara.

Suarez and Cavani’s goal bookended an own goal from Denis Cheryshev, to finish as Group A winners. Suarez opened the scoring in the tenth minute, curling in a free-kick from just outside Russia’s penalty area to score his seventh World Cup finals goal, surpassing Diego Forlan in second place all-time for Uruguay.

La Celeste’s lead was then doubled when Cheryshev scored the 6th own goal at Russia 2018, equalling the record for a single World Cup (1998), after Diego Laxalt’s shot took a heavy deflection.

Things went from bad to worse for the hosts when defender Igor Smolnikov was given his marching orders in the 36th minute after receiving two yellow cards.

Attacking changes at the break from Russia head coach Stanislav Cherchesov brought goalscoring opportunities but they could not breach 100-cap Fernando Muslera’s goal. Cavani had the final say of the evening when he pounced on an Akinfeev parry following captain Diego Godin’s header.

Uruguay did not concede a single goal during the Russia 2018 group stage. This is the fifth World Cup that La Celeste finish the group stage with ‘0’ in the goals conceded column, but it is the second time with the group stage including three matches (South Africa 2010).

The second placed side in Group B will take on Uruguay in Sochi on Saturday.

The second placed side in Group B will take on Uruguay in Sochi on Saturday. Uruguyan hitman Luis Suarez says there feel there’s been an improvement in their performance levels:

“It’s obviously what we wanted, we wanted to keep growing throughout the World Cup and after winning two matches 1-0, today we wanted to do even better. We wanted to play in the same way we did before.

On a personal level I’m happy to move forwards, with the team we continue to make history. As a team we’re thinking about what’s best for the squad as that’s what’s most important. I also want to recognise all the Uruguayans who have made the effort to come out here and we’ve been able to return that effort with today’s result.

Obviously, the first few matches you’re tense and don’t want to make any mistakes or lose. One mistake can be very expensive. Today we came to the pitch with a different attitude and perspective and that’s made the pressure better. That’s what we saw on the pitch.”

Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov doesn’t believe there is any need to panic:

“Even when we had ten people on the pitch, they were running hard and they wanted to attack more that’s why I brought on a substitute. Psychologically we are well prepared for the next games. I believe that we should come to some conclusions, during the training sessions: this is one thing and when you come to the pitch to play the game it’s another. This is an art to be prepared at any second.”

Also in Group A the already eliminated pair Egypt and Saudi Arabia played out a dead rubber in Volgorad.

Salem Al Dawsari struck an injury-time winner as Saudi Arabia recorded their first World Cup win since 1994 by beating Mohamed Salah’s Egypt 2-1.

Reports of Salah quitting international football dominated the build-up to this dead rubber in Group A but he briefly set the speculation to one side by opening the scoring with his second goal of the competition.

The Pharaohs ended a miserable tournament pointless, though, after a controversial penalty from Salman Al Faraj and Al Dawsari’s dramatic late strike turned the game around.