Confederations Cup 2017 | Ronaldo strikes in Portugal win while Mexico eliminate New Zealand

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Confederations Cup 2017 | Ronaldo strikes in Portugal win while Mexico eliminate New Zealand

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SportsCafe Desk

06/22/2017

Cristiano Ronaldo struck for Portugal in the early minutes of the match that saw his side beat Russia by 1-0 in the Confederations Cup yesterday. Mexico had to come from behind, in the second half, to win their match against New Zealand 2-1, a game that ended the Kiwi's campaign in Russia.

Cristiano Ronaldo headed home in the eighth minute for Portugal at Moscow that saw them clinch their first victory at the Confederations Cup after their 2-2 draw against Mexico in their tournament opener. Portugal started the game on the offensive while Russia were happy to defend the opposition and paid the price when a Raphael Guerreiro cross found an unchallenged Ronaldo at the back post who finished it for Portugal to take a 1-0 lead over Russia. 

The resolute Portugal defence then stood their ground and prevented the Russian side from scoring on multiple occasions. However, Portugal had their chance to extend their lead as well when Ronaldo eased past the Russian defence to strike a low shot on target only to be denied by Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev. 

Russia then had the chance to equalise in the 40th minute but striker Fyodor Smolov fired the shot well wide. The second half saw Russia testing the Portugal defence once again but failed to produce the clinical finish to eventually lose the match 1-0.

Meanwhile, goals from Oribe Peralta and Raul Jiminez eliminated New Zealand from the competition after the Kiwis took a surprising first half lead when Clayton Lewis pass cut through the Mexican defence to find Chris Wood who calmly netted the ball in the 42nd minute. Mexico then uped the ante in the second half by introducing FC Porto midfielder Hector Herrera who played a pivotal role in Mexico's resurgence in the game. 

Mexico equalised in the 54th minute when the Mexican frontline combined to set up a great play to find Raul Jiminez who fired home to bring the match back on to level terms before Peralta then hit the winner in the 72nd minute from a Javier Aquino pass to ensure that Mexico lead group A in the tournament ahead of Portugal. The Mexicans will now need a draw against the hosts Russia in Kazan to secure a place in the semi-finals.

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