Confederations Cup: Russia 2 – New Zealand 0

Russia made an impressive start at the Confederations Cup after securing a fine 2-0 win over New Zealand.

Denis Glushakov of Russia trying to hold on to possession despite being closed down by Marco Rojas
Denis Glushakov of Russia trying to hold on to possession despite being closed down by Marco Rojas

Russia took the initiative from the early stages of the match and created the first opportunity of the match after three minutes. Alexsandr Golovin hit a shot from the outside of the penalty area that was blocked by Stefan Marinovic.

The hosts were denied by the post on the 7th minute. Following a corner, Viktor Vasin saw his header hitting the post before the ball was cleared off the line by Michael McGlinchey.

Two minutes later, New Zealand were forced to clear the ball off the line once more. Dmitry Poloz attempted to slot the ball inside the net from close range but found Tommy Smith in the way as the defender cleared the ball away.

The Russians protested for a penalty in the 14th minute. Poloz was played through on goal and the latter went inside the penalty area and was brought down by the goalkeeper. However, the referee signalled play on and the video assistance confirmed his decision.

New Zealand replied on the 22nd minute. Chris Wood fired a powerful drive from distance that went over.

Marinovic had to be alert again on the 25th minute as Russia kept pushing forward in their attempts to break the deadlock. Georgy Dzhikya saw his low shot being parried by the New Zealand goalkeeper.

Deservedly, Russia went ahead on the half hour mark. Poloz’s flick released Denis Glushakov through and the Russian player lifted the ball over the New Zealand shot stopper. In his attempts to clear the ball, Michael Boxall slotted the ball inside his own net.

Russia started the second half the way they ended the first and were denied by Marinovic three minutes into it. First, the New Zealand goalkeeper kept away Poloz’s header in a brilliant manner. From the rebound, the twenty-five year old goalkeeper pushed away Aleksandr Erokhin’s effort.

On the 53rd minute, Russia found Marinovic in their way once more. Aleksandr Golovin charged forward and delivered the ball towards Poloz whose curled effort was tipped away by the goalkeeper.

The Russians were close again on the 62nd minute. From a free-kick, Alexander Samedov saw his shot going marginally over.

Fedor Smolov sealed the issue for Russia on the 69th minute. The top goal scorer of Russia’s domestic league received a cross from Samedov and placed the ball inside the net.

Russia’s goalkeeper was forced to produce his first save of the match on the 77th minute. Ryan Thomas sent a shot from the edge of the penalty area that got the best out of Igor Akinfeev. From the resulting corner, the ball fell for the unmarked Smith whose header was cleared off the line by Fedor Kudriashov.

Stanislav Charechesov’s side were unlucky not to score again deep into the stoppage time. Following a corner, Alexandr Buharov took charge of possession and saw his close range effort being blocked by Marinovic.

Russia starting line-up: Igor Akinfeev, Viktor Vasin, Georgy Dzhikya, Dmitry Poloz, Denis Glushakov, Fedor Smolov, Fedor Kudriashov, Aleksandr Golovin, Yury Zhirkov, Alexander Samedov, Aleksandr Erokhin

New Zealand starting line-up: Stefan Marinovic, Deklan Wynne, Michael Boxall, Kosta Barbarouses, Michael McGlinchey, Chris Wood, Marco Rojas, Ryan Thomas, Kip Colvey, Tommy Smith, Andrew Durante

Referee: Wilmar Roldan (Colombia)

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