Ronaldo helps Portugal into Semis, Russia out


Portugal cruised into the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup as Group A winners after Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva, Andre Silva and Nani secured a 4-0 victory over New Zealand on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo's 75th global goal helped lift Portugal to a comfortable 4-0 win over New Zealand on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Russia, and into the Confederations Cup semifinals.

Mexico then took the lead after 58 minutes when as Russia's Roman Akinfeev misjudged the ball, allowing Hirving Lozano to head home from the edge of the box, 2-1.

New PSV Eindhoven signing Lozano then headed Mexico into the last four as he beat Russian Federation goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev to Hector Herrera's towering kick from inside his own half on 52 minutes.

Mexico and Portugal entered the 2017 Confederations Cup as the favorites to advance out of Group A, and on Saturday, the two sides met those expectations with wins in their respective matches.

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With hosts Russian Federation losing against Mexico in Kazan, Portugal progressed as Group A winners, while the All Whites finished bottom following a third straight defeat. After striker Fedor Smolov hit the post with a long-range shot and Yury Zhirkov had his shot saved by Mexico's goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa, Russia kept possession and sent the ball back into the area, where Aleksandr Erokhin missed on a chance before Samedov picked up his pass and sent a precise low shot into the far corner.

Igor Smolnikov had Russia's best chance to level, smashing over from close range, but the hosts could not produce a comeback and will not participate in the semi-finals, with Mexico progressing alongside Portugal from Group A, reports.

Ronaldo opened the scoring as he netted a penalty in the 33th minute while Manchester City's new signing Bernando Silva scored in the 38th minute to extend the victory for the Selecção.

Four minutes later and it was 2-0, Ricardo Quaresma releasing left-back Eliseu down the left with a clever flick and his cross was turned in by Bernardo Silva. The defender headed the ball into the opposite corner, over goalkeeper Akinfeev.

The game began with an high intense pace and aggression as one player from both sides were cautioned.

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The Kiwi side started well but Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo soon worked his way into the contest and after he put his team ahead from the penalty spot in the 33rd-minute, they had another minutes later to be 2-0 up at halftime.

The linesman's flag denied Spartak Moscow's Samedow after he put the ball in the net early in the second half, and Mexico forged ahead as Lozano's courageous gamble paid off.

Chile face Australia and Germany play Cameroon on Sunday to determine the final standings in Group B.

Ronaldo now has 75 goals in 142 appearances for his country.

The game was briefly interrupted in the 56th minute as Pepe fouled an opponent and was shown a yellow card which rules him out of the semifinals match.

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