Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Portugal, Mexico through to semi-final — FIFA Confederations Cup

Kristopher Love | 27 June, 2017, 08:13

Cristiano Ronaldo is confident Portugal can go all the way at the Confederations Cup after his side booked a place in the semi-finals with a comfortable 4-0 win against New Zealand.

Portugal swiftly doubled their lead when Eliseu's unsafe low cross from the left was forced home by Silva, although there was brief concern for the new Manchester City signing as he landed awkwardly on his ankle.

Marinovic impressed and made eight saves, using his big body to block second-half shots by Andre Silva and Nani.

"It was a hard pitch where the grass was somewhat too long and it was nearly impossible to play better than we did", he told Portuguese media after picking up his third successive man-of-the-match award.

One team came seeking qualification and the other to enhance their reputation.

"Well, they did disallow a goal that was from an offside position".

In the 52nd minute, Mexico's Hirving Lozano nodded the ball into the net from 20 yards after a blunder by Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, helped Mexico to secure victory.

The Oceania champions were far from disgraced but have now competed in the tournament four times without winning a game and have an overall record of 11 defeats and a draw in 12 matches.

Alexander Samedov had given the Russians the lead on 25 minutes, only for Nestor Araujo to fire the Mexicans level five minutes later.

Making it worse, in the 68th minute of the game, Yury Zhirkov was sent off for elbowing his opponent.

Less than three minutes after that, Mexican striker Hirving Lozano rushed out into the goal zone one on one with Russia's goaltender Akinfeev and scored a header to bring up the advantage of his team over the hosts to 2-1.

The world No.8 side were a class above the hard-working Kiwis, nailing two goals in each half in an emphatic display which leaves them top of Group A ahead of Mexico.

With this victory, the CONCACAF champion stormed into the semifinal.

Playing only for pride, Anthony Hudson' side showed the same fight early on as they had previously against Mexico, however, it only took a successful penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo to open up the cracks.

He had found the net in every game with Portugal this season until being deprived in the Confederations Cup opener against Mexico last week, when he was still decisive by setting up Ricardo Quaresma's opening goal.

"It's an excellent stadium but it's a shame the pitch has problems", he told reporters.

"I'm very happy because the boys have really listened and they've given their all".

Ronaldo expressed his delight at firing Portugal into the semi final after netting his 75th global goal in yesterday's 4-0 thrashing of New Zealand.