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Russia zoomed closer in moving into the knockout stages after beating Egypt 3-1 on Tuesday in the FIFA World Cup at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

Midfielder Denis Cheryshev, Artem Dyzuba, and an own goal from Egyptian Ahmed Fathi gave the Russians some sigh of relief as they wait for the result of the Uruguay-Saudi Arabia match. Uruguay will need to win or draw against the Saudis for the Russians to advance into the knockout stages.

Lucky Start For The Russians

After a scoreless first half, the Russians finally found themselves in the board when Fathi hit an own goal in the 47th minute to put the host nation up 1-0. It was the tournament’s fifth own goal The most number of own goals recorded in a World Cup tournament was six in 1998.

Goal-scoring midfielder Cheryshev added another goal to his count as he uncorked a shot in the 59th minute off a well-timed pass from Mario Fernandes to extend Russia’s lead to 2-0. It also marked Cheryshev third goal of the tournament after scoring twice in Russia’s opening game victory over Saudi Arabia.

Looking to put away the game for good, Dyzuba managed to score another one to give Russia a commanding 3-0 advantage.

Too Little, Too Late

However, the Egyptians had one last say courtesy of Mo Salah who was able to force Russia to commit a penalty. The Liverpool striker calmly converted the penalty in the 73rd minute to cut the deficit to within two goals, 3-1.

It was also Salah’s first World Cup goal. Nonetheless, it proved to be too little, too late for the Egyptians as they failed to break through the tough Russian wall to score another one.

“The game was 94 minutes, and we had 10 to 15 very bad minutes, and that was the reason we lost,” Egyptian team manager Héctor Cúper said.

Egypt has captured seven continental championships but the nation has only competed in three World Cup tournaments. Spearheaded by Salah who scored five goals in the qualifying tournament, Egypt made its return in the World Cup for the first time since 1990.

However, an apparent shoulder injury of Salah momentarily dampened the chances of Egypt to pull off a single victory this year. Salah suffered the heartbreaking injury last May 26 in Liverpool’s Champions League Final game against Real Madrid.

He went on to miss their World Cup opener against Uruguay. The Egyptians hope to close out their World Cup campaign on a strong note when they battle Saudi Arabia.

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