Portugal land in Confederations Cup semi-finals

Portugal land in Confederations Cup semi-finals

With Portugal comfortably leading, Fernando Santos opted for a change after 68 minutes as Ronaldo made way for Luis Nani.

The destination of the other semi-final ticket seemed anything but a foregone conclusion for a short while, with Russian Federation forging ahead in the 25th minute through Alexander Samedov's precise, low drive.

The most-capped player in the squad - the Mexico game was his 101st worldwide appearance - Akinfeev's bulletproof consistency in the Russian Premier League has kept him the undisputed national-team No. 1 for years.

A penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring after 32 minutes, and Bernardo Silva doubled the lead before half-time.

His sharp headers could have turned a comfortable win into a rout.

Aleksandr Samedov, who scored Russia's goal against Mexico, agreed with his team-mate: "Of course, these games weren't in vain".

Silva hurt his right ankle in the process and was replaced at the break but it did little to quell Portugal's dominance. Porto midfielder Herrera fired in a deep cross to the far post where Araujo lifted the ball over Akinfeev and into the opposite corner.

Ronaldo helped to put them in control of the contest, after being presented with an opportunity to convert from the penalty spot. They dominated the possession and piled pressure on Russia such that they made Russian defender Y.

Ronaldo has scored 33 goals in 33 games for club and country in 2017.




The All Whites nearly had the final say, with Michael Boxall's shot from four yards blocked on the Portuguese line, before Nani crunching 90th minute strike. Defender Michael Boxall and substitute Kosta Barbarouses also went close.

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson at the Confederations Cup 2017.

Federation Internationale de Football Association said that the entire squad underwent pre-competition and post-match doping tests, which were all negative and which were under FIFA's direct control.

Portugal will face the Group B runner-up on Wednesday, June 28, with Mexico drawing the victor of Group B in a semifinal match scheduled for Thursday, June 29.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, celebrates with Pepe after scoring his side's first goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between New Zealand and Portugal, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2017.

Russian Federation fought valiantly in Kazan but the hosts could not avoid early elimination from the Confederations Cup, losing 2-1 to Mexico, who join the Group A winners, Portugal, in the semi-finals after the European champions beat last-place New Zealand 4-0 in St Petersburg.

New Zealand started positively as Chris Wood fired at goal, but Portugal quickly regrouped.

Silva finally provided Portugal with further breathing space 10 minutes from time as the AC Milan-bound striker ran at the Kiwi defence before drilling into the roof of the net.

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