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  • [Match Report] Russia 0-1 Portugal + Highlights
  • Portugal went top of Group A at the
    Confederations Cup following a 1-0 win over
    Russia on Wednesday, Cristiano Ronaldo making
    the difference for the European champions.
    The Real Madrid star found the net after just eight
    minutes, beating goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev with a
    strong header from close range, and Stanislav
    Cherchesov's side were unable to find a response.
    Russia were high on confidence following their
    2-0 win over New Zealand, whereas morale was
    somewhat low in the Portugal camp after they
    conceded a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw with
    Mexico.
    It was all Portugal in Moscow, though, and
    Ronaldo eventually led his side to victory amid a
    tumultuous personal period off the pitch. The 32-
    year-old has been linked with a move away from
    Madrid following scrutiny over his tax affairs in
    Spain.
    Fernando Santos' men now meet New Zealand on
    Saturday in their final game of the group stage,
    while Russia face Mexico on matchday three.
    Portugal made an encouraging start to the game
    and went a goal up in the ninth minute via
    Ronaldo, the Real Madrid star escaping the
    attention of Fedor Kudriashov at the far post
    before heading home from close range following a
    fine cross from Raphael Guerreiro.
    Ronaldo continued to cause the Russian defence
    all kinds of trouble in the opening stages and he
    was unfortunate not to double Portugal's lead at
    the half-hour mark, Akinfeev pulling off a superb
    save to deny the forward from six yards out after
    a rapid counterattack.
    The hosts first threatened late in the first half
    when Aleksandr Golovin reached Fedor Smolov
    with a low cross from the right, only for the
    Krasnodar star to aim his left-footed effort well
    wide of the Portugal goal.
    New AC Milan signing Andre Silva could have
    added his name to the score sheet shortly after
    the break when he beat his marker to Cedric
    Soares' cross from the right, but Akinfeev
    miraculously kept out the striker's header with a
    stunning reflex save to keep Russia's hopes alive.
    Portugal kept on pushing for a second and
    Ronaldo should perhaps have doubled his tally
    after being set up by Andre Gomes at the hour
    mark, mistiming his header and sending the ball
    well wide of the target instead, before he wildly
    blasted a shot over the crossbar minutes later as
    the game started to open up.
    It mattered little in the end, though, as Russia
    lacked the individual quality to really worry
    Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio, the Seleccao
    seeing out a flurry of late pressure without any
    noteworthy problems.
    Credit: Goal.com

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