Ronaldo header gives Portugal 1-0 win over hosts Russia

Ronaldo was named the best player in the game.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo heads at goal.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo leaves the field at the end of the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Russian Federation and Portugal, at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow, Wednesday, June 21, 2017.

It was Russian Federation who finished strongly with Aleksandr Bukharov appealing in vain for a last-gasp penalty after going down in the box, before the defender Georgy Dzhikya headed inches over Rui Patricio's crossbar deep into injury time.

Just eight minutes had passed when Ronaldo found himself in acres of space at the back post to head home unopposed and make it 1-0 to the visitors, Dmitry Kudryashov was the player guilty of allowing Ronaldo room.

And Portugal manager Fernando Santos made a couple of bold changes, dropping the experienced duo of Ricardo Quaresma and Nani in favour of up-and-comers Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva.

Russian goalkeeper and captain Igor Akinfeev was tasked with facing a forward line led by the world's best player Ronaldo in his 100th worldwide appearance for "Sbornaya".

Peralta sealed the win in the 72nd minute with a close-range finish to put Mexico in front for the first time in the game.

The 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup Group A match between New Zealand and Portugal will be played at Saint Petersburg Stadium and kicks off at 17:00 CEST on Saturday 24 June 2017. Both sides have 4 points after two games, and both would be guaranteed to progress with just a draw in their final group stage match.

"In the first half, we played very well, with a lot of personality, " he said.

The match turned when Porto midfielder Hector Herrera came on for the second half and Mexico's attacks started to flow.

"I thought it was freaky really, it was like we had elbowed the player the way it was going on", he said.

"We fight to do our best, to take the name of Portugal as far as possible, always respecting the opponents".

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 equalised when Aquino broke down the left flank and passed to Marco Fabian, who squared for forward Jimenez to fire home on 54 minutes.

  • Stacy Allen