Confederations Cup | Portugal and Mexico seal semi-final berths

Confederations Cup | Portugal and Mexico seal semi-final berths

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UEFA Euro 2016 Champions Portugal thrashed a spirited New Zealand 4-0 courtesy goals from veterans Luis Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo to enter the semi-finals of the tournament. Meanwhile, hosts Russia were eliminated from the competition after suffering a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Mexico.

Portugal started the game on the offensive and tried to break down the New Zealand defence in search of the first goal of the match. However, the attacking play from the European champions did not last for long and Kiwis pressurised the Portuguese defence. Portugal then got back to attacking ways with Cristiano Ronaldo continuously testing the New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic. New Zealand on the other hand, had their chances and almost clinched to one when Dane Ingham shot an easy chance over the goal. 

Portugal finally got the breakthrough they were looking for when Danilo Periera was brought down illegitimately in the penalty area in the 32nd minute. Cristiano Ronaldo then stepped up to the penalty spot and deceived the Kiwi goalkeeper to open the scoring for Portugal. New Zealand tried to counter the goal with some attacking play but failed when Bernardo Silva doubled the lead for Portugal in the 37th minute. Following the second goal, the Portuguese enjoyed the majority of the ball possession and held a commanding position in the match. 

Portugal continued on the same attacking style of play in the second half as Andre Silva scored the third in the 81st minute to put the match beyond the Kiwis. Nani then followed the suit and made it 4-0 to ensure Portugal finishes at the top of Group A.

Meanwhile, hosts Russia lost the match to Mexico after taking the lead in the 25th minute courtesy an Aleksandr Samedov shot against Mexico in their last group game. However, Mexico brought the match back to level terms within five minutes of the goal when Nestor Araujo headed the ball past Igor Akinfeev. Russia then trailed in the match when Akinfeev was outjumped by Hirving Lozano who scored a goal from 20 yards out to seal the semi-final berth of the 2017 Confederations Cup.

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