Confederations Cup: Portugal beat New Zealand to enter semi-finals

Beth Cruz
June 26, 2017

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 75th worldwide goal as Portugal trounced New Zealand 4-0 in Saint Petersburg on Saturday to advance to the semi-finals of the Confederations Cup.

Host nation Russian Federation fought valiantly but could not avoid early elimination at the Confederations Cup after a 2-1 loss to Mexico on Saturday, a result that secured the Mexicans a place in the semifinals of the World Cup warm-up tournament.

Captain Cristiano Ronaldo put Portugal ahead from the penalty spot on 33 minutes.

Portuguese team manager, Fernando Santos says: "I warned my players not let them win balls in the air, and the team reacted very well".

Portugal's Andre Silva celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between New Zealand and Portugal, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2017.

It did not take long for the European champions to double their advantage through Bernando Silva, who confidently found the back of the net after receiving a pass inside the penalty box.

Portugal defender Pepe will miss the semi-final after being booked for a reckless challenge in the middle of the field in the second half, his second yellow card of the tournament.

Forward Andre Silva wrapped up the comfortable victory with a fierce angled finish on 80 minutes and Nani added a fourth in stoppage time.

"It was a hard pitch where the grass was somewhat too long and it was nearly impossible to play better than we did", he told Portuguese media after picking up his third successive man-of-the-match award.

"Opponents? [Chile and Germany] are two very strong teams", he said.

However, the All Whites keeper could do little when Andre Silva, who cost AC Milan some £33m from Porto, darted into the right of the penalty area before crashing the ball into the top corner.

"Well, they did disallow a goal that was from an offside position".

Although Saudi Arabian referee Fahad Al Mirdasi bizarrely referred the incident to be reviewed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) a couple of minutes after the event, he then kept his original decision not to award a foul.

Mexico defender Nestor Araujo equalised in the 30th minute with a looping header.

Bernardo has certainly had a stop-start introduction to senior worldwide life, but this - his second goal in his 14th cap - was a significant moment, and his presence coming off the flank lends Portugal more fluidity between the lines.

Despite the off-field turmoil and constant speculation about his future, the Portugal captain has dazzled on the pitch in Russian Federation and scored two goals in three matches. "Life will go on, this is sport and I am convinced he will remain on the national team and make his fans happy". "I hope the players will use the experience to grow and develop".

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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