Published: Sun, June 25, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Cristiano Ronaldo confident for Confederations Cup final

Cristiano Ronaldo confident for Confederations Cup final

But Russia kept possession and sent the ball back into the area, where Alexandr Erokhin missed his kick but still had time to lay the ball off for Aleksandr Samedov to net the opener in the 25th minute.

New PSV Eindhoven signing Lozano then headed Mexico into the last four as he beat Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to Hector Herrera's towering kick from inside his own half.

Ronaldo could have added to his tally when he climbed to meet a Nelson Semedo delivery, his header scooped away by Stefanovic who then stood tall to superbly deny Andre Silva.

They stretched Portugal's defence on occasion and caused enough uncertainty to force Santos into a decision that may yet cost his team.

"What we started with after the European Championship and what we have today, I think we have managed to accomplish a qualitative leap and we should not stop where we are", Cherchesov said.

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It was his 75th goal for Portugal, bringing him level with Sandor Kocsis in second place on the list of Europe's highest worldwide goal scorers.

For Russia, anything but a victory will mean an early exit from its home tournament, although advancing was already seen as a hard task in a group with Mexico and Portugal.

When Ronaldo began to dominate All Whites defenders in the air midway through the first half, an aerial challenge saw him left in a heap. The defender headed the ball into the opposite corner, over goalkeeper Akinfeev.

Russian fans in a 56,290 crowd made it clear who they came to see. Ronaldo shot high to Marinovic's left as the goalkeeper dived right. Silva, the new Manchester City recruit, turned his right ankle while scoring and did not appear for the second half.

The lead was quickly doubled when Bernardo Silva slotted home on 37 minutes after getting on the end of Eliseu's low driven cross, although the winger was injured in the process and later replaced. They cheered when Ronaldo was on the big screens, even during Portugal's national anthem.

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A solo effort from Andre Silva, his eighth goal in 11 appearances, in the 80th minute and a stoppage-time goal from substitute Nani completed the scoring.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Portugal, the European champion, outclassed New Zealand, which extended its winless Confederations Cup run to 12 games across four editions.

New Zealand: Marinovic 6, Ingham 5, Durante 5, Boxall 6, Doyle 6, McGlinchey 5, Thomas 5, Smith 6, Lewis 5, Rojas 5, Wood 6.

"We started the game really well, and were the stronger of the two teams", said Hudson. If Portugal play to their ability, they should win this match and punch a ticket to the semifinal.

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