Putin present to see Russia kick off Confederations Cup

Bruno Cirelli
Giugno 19, 2017

Hosts Russia eased to a 2-0 win over New Zealand on Saturday in the opening match of the Confederations Cup, a tournament seen as a test for the country before it stages next year's World Cup.

The eight-nation, 16-game tournament features the host nation, 2014 World Cup victor Germany and champions of FIFA's six continental governing bodies.

After having two early chances cleared off the line, they took the lead when Michael Boxall scored an own goal after Denis Glushakov had struck the post.

The game was played at the newly-built 57,000-seat capacity St. Petersburg Stadium and tonight's attendance of the match totalled over 50,200.

Portugal's William Carvalho, left, and Mexico's Raul Jimenez fight for the ball during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Portugal and Mexico, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Sunday, June 18, 2017. The first warning sign for New Zealand came in the seventh minute when Michael McGlinchley was forced to hack off the line after Viktor Vasin's header came back off the inside of the post.

After New Zealand lost possession in a risky area, Poloz's neat touch released Glushakov, who clipped his finish over Marinovic and off the post before Boxall bundled the ball into his own net as he and Smith frantically tried to clear. Tommy Smith then tidied up when Poloz poked a close-range shot slowly past Marinovic.

Russian Federation always looked the more likely to add to their lead and New Zealand had their goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic to thank for a crucial double save before the break - first denying Dmitry Poloz's header and then Aleksandr Erokhin on the follow-up.

And Smolov sealed victory with 21 minutes remaining, finishing simply from six yards after starting a move that led to Boxall failing to clear Samedov's threatening right-wing cross.

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