Ronaldo hits 75th international goal as Portugal reach semi-finals

Xavier Trudeau
Juin 25, 2017

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ronaldo emerged man of the match played at Saint Petersburg Stadium, St Petersburg (RUS) on Saturday.

Match day two is finished and the Confederations Cup is heading into the final group stage games.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, celebrates with Pepe after scoring his side's first goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between New Zealand and Portugal, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2017.

Hosts Russia took a deserved 25th-minute lead in Kazan through Aleksandr Samedov, but Nestor Araujo equalised for Mexico with a looping header on the half hour.

But one of Russia's best chances was still to come when substitute Igo Smolnikov also sent his shot over the crossbar from very close range. Several players missed clear opportunities throughout the match played in front of 41,585 at Kazan Arena.

Portugal went into the match knowing that victory would be enough to secure their place in the last four of the competition, while New Zealand were playing for pride after losing to both Mexico and Russian Federation. We'll try to take the next step ahead.

Just before half-time, Portugal forward Andre Silva lashed out at Michael Boxall after a tussle with the New Zealand defender, which left him with a torn shirt - but could easily have also resulted in a red card.

It was their first goal in 555 minutes of Confederations Cup football before Raul Jimenez and Oribe Peralta scored second-half goals for Mexico as the Kiwis faded.

We know Portugal are world class and they pose different problems to Mexico, but we are going to come to this game with the same mentality.

"We will play a hard opponent whoever that will be, Chile or Germany, two great teams. It was an important victory for Mexican football".

A loss for Russian Federation would eliminate them from the tournament that is a warm-up for the World Cup finals it will host next year.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 75th worldwide goal helped lift Portugal to a comfortable 4-0 win over New Zealand on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia, and into the Confederations Cup semifinals. Shots in the sixth and 76th minutes lacked power to test goalkeeper Rui Patricio, and defender Bruno Alves blocked a low shot at the far post in the 59th. Midfielder Danilo was pushed and tripped trying to meet the ball from a corner.

And they nearly gave themselves a lifeline just before the hour, as Doyle flashed a sensational ball into the six-yard box for Chris Wood, whose eventual effort was crucially blocked by Bruno Alves. He apparently wasn't sure if he could use his hands and ended up taking too long to commit to the ball with his feet, allowing Lozano to nip in and head it into the open net.

The hosts wanted a penalty after Yuri Zhirkov fell inside the area in the sixth minute, but he was barely touched and the referee let the play continue.

The hosts were unlucky not to force an equaliser after a string of chances in a strong second-half display. An owl goal was the eventual victor, but Fyodor Smolov struck home a second half goal to seal it.

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