Comrade of the Day: Matchday ONE

15 June 2018, 12:43
Life After Football

There is a LOT of football upon us.

In the group stage phase of this World Cup, there will be at least 3 games of football every day for 13 days. That's a lot of goals, a lot of passing, a lot of 'ooh are we going to see VAR here?' and a lot of heroes and villains. Similar to our Player of the Weekend series in the regular season, we're going to be providing you with a World Cup alternative; Comrade of the Day.

DAY ONE: Denis Cheryshev

A few hearts were in mouths when Alan Dzagoev hit the floor, clenching his hamstring. In what is, according to their own press at least, a very weak Russian side, the CSKA Moscow playmaker is one of the standout talents.

Or at least he was, before a cruel twinge of his hamstring surely ruled him out of the rest of the tournament. Despite being a goal up, such an injury had the potential to unsettle a Russia side whom all of the world and Putin were watching. Even more so when you realise that his replacement has struggled to get a game all season at Villareal.

But on Denis Cheryshev came and his impact was clear from the off. Industrious work down the left-hand side made him a handful for Saudi Arabia defenders who, despite not having the best game, were made to look very inferior indeed thanks to former Real Madrid man's display. 

He got two goals on the opening night of his nation's World Cup. The first of which took great composure to control the ball in the box, watch as two defenders helplessly slide past in vein of an attempted block, and then smash the ball home to scenes of joy in Moscow.

Then, with the game dying out in injury time (or so we thought), Cheryshev applied the first of a couple layers of gloss on this Russian victory. A glorious strike, swerving and curling past a beaten Saudi 'keeper that took this win from a solid start to a brilliant one for Russia. A fifth goal, an equally impressive free-kick from his teammate Aleksandr Golovin rounded off a dream start for the hosts, but it was Cheryshev, off-the-bench and often-doubted, who is our standout performer.

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