Millennium Post

Mo Salah's return isn't enough as Russia hands Egypt a huge loss

St. Petersburg: Russia defeated Egypt 3-1 in a Group A clash on Tuesday to virtually assure themselves a place in the next round of the FIFA World Cup here.

A goal by Egypt defender Ahmed Fathi (47th minute) opened the scoring just after the break. Denis Cheryshev (59th) and Artem Dzyuba (62nd) produced two superb strikes in quick succession to give a formidable lead. Star forward Mohammed Salah converted a penalty in the 73rd minute to score Egypt's first World Cup goal since 1990.

Russia, who have won two matches on the trot, lead the group with six points.

They had thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening match of the tournament. Egypt, who had lost to Uruguay in their first match, are yet to open their account.

They will now have to beat Saudi Arabia in their third match and hope that the South Americans slip up in their remaining games.

This has been a disappointing campaign for the North Africans who are making their first appearance in 28 years at football's biggest stage.

Salah, who has made a rather hurried comeback after dislocating his left shoulder during last month's Champions League final, took the field for the first time since that fateful day.

But the Liverpool FC star found the going tough against the well organised Russian defence. Although the Egypt midfield did well, they lacked teeth upfront. Both teams were more or less equally matched and both had their share of half chances in the first-half. The game burst into life after the break when the hosts took the lead.

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