Several minutes later Russia's Head Coach Cherchesov opted for another replacement and sent in Artyom Dzyuba in place of Fyodor Smolov.
Even Russian President Vladimir Putin, sitting next to Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, found himself looking over like "hey, what can you do?" Putin then reached over to shake the prince's hand. Substitute Denis Cheryshev rifled home a second goal shortly before half-time. He chipped the ball over two Saudi defenders in the 43rd minute and shot over goalkeeper Abdullah Al Muaiouf's right side to make it 2-0.
The final two goals came from the two stars of the show for Russian Federation.
"I could never have dreamed of anything like this", said the midfielder. Moody's Investors Service said last month that any boost will be limited and short-lived, well short of the fillip provided by the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, which cost a record $50 billion.
The South African world cup opening ceremony had a calabash, a mug used at traditional gatherings, while the Russian World Cup had a brightly coloured yellow and red bird. The Saudis are not good either with their last victory in the tournament coming in the 1994 World Cup. Russian Federation next play Egypt on Tuesday in St Petersburg while the Saudis face Uruguay the following day in Rostov-on-Don.
But with the five goals against the Saudis, a draw could be enough against either of its two remaining opponents.
Half an hour in the closing half both teams made replacements with Saudi Arabia switching Abdullah Otayf for Fahad Almuwallad and Russian Federation replaced Alexander Samedov with Daler Kuziaev.
Russian Federation had a penalty appeal turned down in the 35th minute, but Saudi captain Osama Hawsawi got enough on the ball when he challenged Golovin to avoid censure from VAR.
The opening goal came soon after, as Saudi Arabia failed to clear a corner and a curling cross in from the left by Golovin picked out an unmarked Gazinsky to head low into the far corner.
Creative fulcrum Alan Dzagoev, who has often suffered misfortune around big tournaments, had to go off after just 20 minutes with a suspected hamstring injury, to be replaced by Villareal's Denis Cheryshev.