FIFA Confederations Cup 2017
Otkrytie Arena, Moscow, Russia
European Champions Portugal earned their first victory of their 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup campaign after they defeated tournament hosts Russia 1-0 at the Otkrytie Arena in Moscow, in what was their second match in Group A.
Cristiano Ronaldo headed the Portuguese ahead after just eight minutes to send Fernando Santos’ side to the top of the table ahead of Mexico’s clash with New Zealand.
The European Champions started well and opened the scoring in the eighth minute after a teasing delivery from Raphaël Guerreiro was headed home by Ronaldo past a helpless Igor Akinfeev, who was making his 100th appearance for the Russians.
In the 31st minute Portugal went close to doubling their lead when Ronaldo got the better of Viktor Vasin before firing an effort at-goal from a tight-angle that Akinfeev smothered away well with his feet.
Five minutes before the break, the hosts had a good chance when Aleksandr Golovin’s low cross found Fyodor Smolov, but he fired the ball harmlessly wide.
Four minutes into the restart, Portugal had a good chance to double their lead when Cédric Soares sent a teasing delivery that André Silva met with a header that Akinfeev brilliantly palmed away with an instinctive-save.
In the 57th minute the European Champions went close again when a Soares strike from-range forced a good save from Akinfeev, who was forced to palm the effort away.
Nine minutes later the visitors went close when André Gomes fed Bernardo Silva, who cut-inside before curling an effort at-goal that Akinfeev saved well.
In the 90th minute the hosts went close when Georgi Dzhikiya’s teasing delivery was palmed away nervously by Rui Patrício. Russia had a good chance from the resulting-corner, which was met by Dzhikiya, but he headed the ball just over the bar.
The result meant that Portugal moved to the top of Group A on four points, a point above Russia, ahead of Mexico’s clash with New Zealand.