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PHOTOS: Ronaldo header gives Portugal victory

June 22, 2017 11:25 IST
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Cristiano Ronaldo

IMAGE: Cristiano Ronaldo, left, of Portugal heads the ball during the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017 Group A match against Russia. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo headed an early winner as Portugal beat hosts Russia 1-0 in the Confederations Cup on Wednesday to go top of Group A and spoil Russian goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev's 100th cap.

European champions Portugal took the lead when captain Ronaldo headed a precise cross by Raphael Guerreiro past Akinfeev in the eighth minute and then held on as a re-energised Russia created chances in the second half.

Akinfeev had kept his team in the match early in the second half when he tipped a powerful header by Andre Silva round the post.

Cristiano Ronaldo

IMAGE: Cristiano Ronaldo, left, celebrates with team mates after scoring a goal. Photograph: Francois Nel/Getty Images

Russia squandered two scoring chances in stoppage time, with Georgy Dzhikya's header sailing over the bar while a Fedor Smolov drive floated wide.

The win moved Portugal top of the table with four points after they conceded an equaliser in stoppage time to draw their opening match 2-2 against with Mexico.

Russia stay on three points while, Mexico (1) take on New Zealand (0) later on Wednesday.

Russia face Mexico on Saturday in their last group game, when Portugal play New Zealand.

Mexico come from behind to beat New Zealand

IMAGE: Raul Jimenez, right, of Mexico celebrates scoring a goal. Photograph: Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Mexico scored twice in a busy second-half performance to overcome New Zealand 2-1 on Wednesday and destroy the All Whites dreams of securing their first Confederations Cup victory at the 11th attempt.

New Zealand had not won any of their previous matches at three Confederations Cups dating back to 1999 but they had the better of the first half and went in 1-0 up thanks to a nice goal from Chris Wood.

However, Mexico came out reorganised for the second half and Raul Jimenez got an equaliser nine minutes into the second period.

Javier Aquino dribbled in from the left and after an exchange of passes on the edge of the New Zealand box, Jimenez spun to fire high into the net.

Mexico took control of the game and Oribe Peralta grabbed the winner from close range after 72 minutes when he swept home another incisive cross from man of the match Aquino.

IMAGE: New Zealand and Mexico players clash during the FIFA Confederations Cup match in Sochi. Photograph: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Both teams had chances to add to their totals in what was a pulsating second period.

Juergen Damm missed at least two golden opportunities for Mexico to extend their lead, while at the other end Ryan Thomas was unlucky to see a lovely curling shot rebound off the bar.

Tommy Smith saved a Jimenez shot off the line two minutes from time.

"There wasn't a lot in it tonight, it was very close," New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson said.

"If we had been more clinical in front of goal we’d have a point. Overall I am really proud and I am really disappointed, our players deserved more."

Mexico ended the day as Group A leaders with four points, ahead of Portugal on goal average. Hosts Russia are in third with three points and New Zealand have none.

Mexico play Russia and Portugal face New Zealand on Saturday.

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