Ronaldo, Nani on Target as Portugal Ease to Semi-Final

Rufina Vignone
Giugno 25, 2017

Portugal advanced to the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup after goals from Cristiano Ronaldo, Bernardo Silva, Andre Silva and Nani secured a 4-0 win over New Zealand.

Portugal needed only a point against the Kiwis in St Petersburg and made no mistake, with Ronaldo converting from the spot, and the impressive Bernardo Silva - a recent recruit at Pep Guardiola's Manchester City - turning the ball in from close range four minutes later.

And in the 68th minute, Russia's hopes of an equaliser were dealt a blow when Zhirkov was sent off with a second yellow card after elbowing Miguel Layun.

With hosts Russian Federation losing against Mexico in Kazan, Portugal progressed as Group A winners, while the All Whites finished bottom following a third straight defeat.

Mexico's Hector Herrera, top, and his teammates celebrate their side's first goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Mexico and Russia, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2017.

Mexico has brought back its first-choice lineup for the final group stage match, with a number of rotations made in the near-disaster against New Zealand.

Ronaldo was the one to break the deadlock, dispatching an emphatic penalty beyond Stefan Marinovic to score on the 30th birthday of nemesis Lionel Messi.

His sharp headers could have turned a comfortable win into a rout. They cheered when Ronaldo was on the big screens, even during Portugal's national anthem, and gave him an ovation when substituted midway through the second half.

The goalkeeper apparently wasn't sure if he could use his hands and ended up taking too long to commit to the ball with his feet, allowing Lozano to nip in and head it into the open net.

But as the two teams waited in the in the tunnel at Krestovsky Stadium, it was indeed the Real Madrid maestro standing opposite New Zealand captain Chris Wood. Ronaldo shot high to Marinovic's left as the goalkeeper dived right.

Nani drilled in a fourth goal for Portugal during stoppage time.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos gave New Zealand a boost by withdrawing Ronaldo 23 minutes from the end, but substitute Nani almost made a swift impact, latching on to Quaresma's cross and slamming a powerful shot at Marinovic from 10 yards.

"We faced a rival that needed to win and had nothing to lose, and we competed very well against them", Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio said.

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