Uruguay 3-0 Russia: Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani snatch top spot in World Cup Group A
Denis Cheryshev scores own goal and Igor Smolnikov sent off on bad day for Russia
By Stephen Mills
Last Updated: 26/06/18 6:15am
Uruguay beat 10-man Russia 3-0 in Samara to secure top spot in Group A and end the hosts' perfect start to their home World Cup.
Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a low free-kick and Denis Cheryshev deflected a Diego Laxalt shot into his own net (23) before Igor Smolnikov was sent off for a second yellow card nine minutes before half-time.
Both sides had already qualified for the last 16 and Edinson Cavani poked home Uruguay's third in injury-time to seal a victory which means his side will now face Portugal in Sochi on Saturday.
Meanwhile, after comprehensive wins over Saudi Arabia and Egypt, Russia will face Spain in Moscow next Sunday after Fernando Hierro's side held onto top spot in their group.
Uruguay: Muslera (7), Godin (7), Coates (6), Caceres (6), Bentancur (7), Nandez (6), Torreira (7), Vecino (6), Laxalt (7), Suarez (7), Cavani (6)
Subs: Arrascaeta (6), Rodriguez (6)
Russia: Akinfeev (6), Kutepov (6), Ignashevich (7), Kudryashov (6), Smolnikov (3), Cheryshev (7), Gazinsky (6), Zobnin (7), Miranchuk (6), Samedov (5), Dzyuba (7)
Subs: Fernandes (6), Kuzyaev (6), Smolov (7)
Man of the match: Lucas Torreira
The opening goal came when Yury Gazinsky fouled Rodrigo Bentancur on the edge of the area and Suarez stroked a low free-kick into the bottom corner beyond the despairing left hand of Igor Akinfeev.
Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera denied Cheryshev three minutes after the goal and Artem Dzyuba bounced a header over the bar before Uruguay scored a fortunate second mid-way through the first half.
Dzyuba headed clear Lucas Torreira's corner to the feet of Laxalt on the edge of the area and his shot took a wicked deflection off Cheryshev, completely wrong-footing Akinfeev, and nestling in the corner.
Russia made three changes with Mario Fernandes, Yuri Zhirkov and Aleksandr Golovin all rested. Fyodor Kudriashov, Aleksey Miranchuk and Igor Smolnikov replace them.
On a sweltering afternoon in Samara, Russia's hopes diminished further when Smolnikov was shown a second yellow card in the 36th minute. The full-back, already on a booking for a foul on Cavani, recklessly took down the rampaging Laxalt on the left wing to become the third player sent off at this World Cup.
Dzyuba sliced Russia's best second-half chance wide of the post in the 76th minute and they almost conceded further when Akinfeev was forced to make fine late saves from Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Cristian Rodriguez.
But Cavani did add the third goal in injury-time when Diego Godin's powerful header after an Arrascaeta corner forced another sprawling stop from the Russia goalkeeper and the PSG forward was alert to prod home.
- Uruguay have finished as first round group winners for just the fifth time, having done so previously in 1930, 1950, 1954 and most recently in 2010.
- Russia are the first European side to fail to top their group as the host nation since Spain in 1982.
- Russia are now winless in each of their six World Cup matches in which they have conceded the first goal (D1 L5).
- Russia's Denis Cheryshev's scored the sixth own goal at this year's tournament, the joint-most number of own goals at a single World Cup (also six in 1998).
- Russian defender Igor Smolnikov is the first outfield player to be sent off for the host nation of a World Cup since Marcel Desailly for France against Brazil in the 1998 final.
- Edinson Cavani became just the second player to score a goal in three separate World Cup tournaments for Uruguay (2010, 2014 and 2018) after his strike partner Luis Suarez.
Man of the Match - Lucas Torreira
In truth, there was not an outstanding performer on either side in a game which had a testimonial feel to it in the second half, but Lucas Torreira was effective in midfield for the winning side. He boasted the best pass completion of any Uruguay player and also made the joint-most interceptions (3), to help his team control the game for long spells. His corner also led to the Cheryshev own goal which ultimately secured top spot in the group.
Russia and Uruguay had to wait for the conclusion of Monday evening's Group B fixtures to discover who they would face. Group winners Uruguay will play Portugal in Sochi at 7pm on Saturday evening, while Russia face the Group B winners Spain at 3pm on Sunday in Moscow.