FIFA Confederations Cup: Portugal and Mexico advance, hosts Russia bow out
Portugal beat New Zealand 4-0 to advance to the semi-finals. Mexico also made the knockouts after beating hosts Russia 2-1.football Updated: Jun 24, 2017 23:35 IST
European champions Portugal comfortably dispatched New Zealand 4-0 to reach the Confederations Cup semi-finals on Saturday after Cristiano Ronaldo set them on their way with a penalty.
Portugal’s all-time leading scorer swept the ball home in the 33rd minute, his 75th goal for his country, and Bernardo Silva added the second four minutes later.
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.
It was a typically efficient performance from Portugal who never looked in danger despite a sluggish start.
In the other game, host nation Russia fought valiantly effort but could not avoid early elimination at the Confederations Cup after a 2-1 loss to Mexico on Saturday, a result that secured the Mexicans a place in the semifinals of the World Cup warm-up tournament.
Needing a victory to advance from its difficult group, the hosts played well and took the lead with a goal by Alexander Samedov in the first half, but the experienced Mexicans equalized with Nestor Araujo before halftime and secured the victory early in the second with a goal by Hirving Lozano after a blunder by Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.
The Russians had plenty of chances, but poor finishing kept them from earning a better result. Several players missed clear scoring opportunities throughout the match in front of 41,585 fans at Kazan Arena.
Russian players gathered in the middle of the pitch to salute fans after the final whistle and were applauded by the crowd.