Confederations Cup | Russia 0 – Portugal 1

Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal after eight minutes made all the difference as Portugal earned a narrow 1-0 win over Russia.

Cristiano Ronaldo in action
Cristiano Ronaldo in action

Portugal went ahead after just eight minutes. Raphael Guerreiro sent a cross inside the penalty area towards Ronaldo who drifted behind the Russia defence and headed past Igor Akinfeev to score his 74th goal for his nation.

Ronaldo tried his luck again on the 25th minute. The Portugaese star fired a shot from a free-kick that was neutralised by Akinfeev.

The Russian goalkeeper was on the alert to deny Ronaldo once more on the 32nd minute. The Real Madrid player received the ball on the right flank, went inside the penalty area, and hit a close range shot that was blocked by Akinfeev. Rebound fell for Cedric whose cross was cleared by the Russians.

Russia responded on the 41st minute. Yury Zhirkov’s cross was met by Fedor Smolov who sent a first time shot that went off target.

Akinfeev produced an excellent save to keep Russia in the game on the 50th minute. Cedric delivered a precise cross towards Adrien Silva and the latter sent a strong header that got the best out of the thirty-one year old goalkeeper.

On the 58th minute, Cedric fired a powerful drive from distance that was blocked by Akinfeev once more.

Ronaldo missed a good opportunity on the 62nd minute. Gomes crossed the ball towards him, but the Real Madrid player mistimed his header and finished wide.

The hosts had a promising chance in the additional time given by the referee. Following a corner, Georgy Dzhikiya headed slightly over.

Three minutes later, Smolov of Russia hit a low shot from distance that ended wide.

Portugal are now on the verge of a semi-final spot, while Russia need to beat Mexico in the final match to have any chance of progressing to the next stage.

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

Portugal starting line-up: Rui Patricio, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva, William Carvalho, Andre` Gomes, Cedric, Adrien Silva

Referee: Gialuca Rocchi (Italy)