FIFA Confederations Cup 2017
Stadion Krestovskyi, St. Petersburg, Russia
Hosts Russia got the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup underway with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Oceanic Champions New Zealand at the Stadion Krestovskyi in St. Petersburg.
Goals from Denis Glushakov and Fyodor Smolov were enough for the Russians to win the tournament’s opening fixture and move to the top of Group A.
The hosts started well and went close to taking the lead after just a couple of minutes when a strike from the outside of the area by Aleksandr Golovin was nervously parried behind by Stefan Marinovic.
In the sixth minute the Russians very early opened the scoring when Viktor Vasin met a corner with a diving-header that struck the post with Michael McGlinchey clearing the loose ball off the line.
Two minutes later the hosts had another good chance when Dmitry Poloz controlled a cross from Aleksandr Samedov before firing an effort at-goal that Tommy Smith cleared on the goal-line.
Russia took the lead in the 31st minute when Poloz send Glushakov through on-goal and he chipped Marinovic before bundling the ball home via a combination of the post and Smith.
The hosts started the second-half in the ascendancy and had a great chance to double their lead when Poloz latched onto a cross from the right with a header that Marinovic did well to palm away, before Aleksandr Yerokhin’s follow-up was smothered behind by the keeper.
Five minutes later Russia went close again when Poloz curled an effort at-goal that Marinovic palmed away.
In the 69th minute the hosts doubled their lead when Smolov exchanged passes with Samedov, whose cross found the former, who tapped home.
Eight minutes later the All Whites went close to pulling a goal back when a fierce strike from-range by Ryan Thomas was palmed behind by Igor Akinfeev. The visitors had a good chance from the resulting-corner, which was met by Smith with a header that was cleared off the line by Yuri Zhirkov.
In the second of three additional minutes, Russia had a good chance to find a late third when a Zhirkov corner found substitute Aleksandr Bukharov at the back-post, but he couldn’t sort his feet out and his eventual effort was smothered over the bar by Marinovic.
The result meant that Russia moved to the top of Group A on three points ahead of Portugal’s clash with Mexico, while New Zealand dropped to the bottom of the table.