Portugal booked their place in the semi-finals of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup with a 4-0 defeat of New Zealand on Saturday evening after their last Group A match at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Cristiano Ronaldo (from penalty spot), Bernardo Silva and Andre Silva and Nani’s goals ensured victory for the Portuguese.
Portugal and Mexico were level on four points each coming into the final group game while New Zealand took the lead against Mexico in their last match but eventually fell to a 2-1 defeat and the Kiwis were out to play for pride against the reigning European Champions having also lost 2-0 to hosts Russia in the opening match of the tournament.
Ronaldo was presented with a great chance in the 24th minute when he attempted to convert a cross into a goal, but his promising header from near the penalty spot low towards the middle of the net was saved.
Portugal went into ascendancy in the first half with two goals in the bag.
Ronaldo left the New Zealand keeper Stefan Marinovic helpless with his precise penalty shot into the top right corner in the 33rd minute.
Bernardo Silva doubled Portugal’s lead four minutes later when he connected with a pass inside the box and slammed home low into the middle of the net.
The game was briefly interrupted in the 56th minute as Pepe fouled an opponent and was shown a yellow card which rules him out of the semifinals match.
Portugal’s Andre Silva’s 63rd minute shot was tame and Marinovic stuck his foot out to deny him.
Nani replaced Cristiano Ronaldo in the 67th minute and the forward almost rewarded his coach soon afterwards but his shot inside the penalty box only won his team a penalty.
Andre Silva, profiting from a Ricardo Quaresma assist made it 3-0 in the 80th minute when he finished his beautiful individual effort with a superb strike from inside the box.
Nani then made it 4-0 in the 90th minute when he drilled in his left footed to the bottom right corner.
As a sports expert from CustomEssayOrder noticed, Ronaldo left the New Zealand keeper Stefan Marinovic helpless with his precise penalty shot into the top right corner in the 33rd minute.
In the Group A’s other matchday-3 game, Mexico also advanced into the semi-finals after dumping a ten man Russian side out the tournament with a 2-1 win at the Kazan Arena.
It was Mexico’s first win over Russia in 31 years.
Second half goals from 21 year old Hirving Lozano sealed a semi-final place for the El Tri after Nestor Araujo strike had cancelled out Aleksandr Samedov opener for Russia in the 25th minute.
Juan Carlos Osorio’s side finished in second position with seven points behind Portugal (due to an inferior goal difference of +2) who also defeated New Zealand 3-0 to set up a semi-final clash with the winner of Group A.
The game began with an high intense pace and aggression as one player from both sides were cautioned. Yuri Zhirkov and Mexican captain Andres Guardado were both cautioned in the opening nine minutes of the encounter. Guardado however will miss Mexico’s semi-final clash.
Hector Moreno had the ball in the net in the 61st minute but the Video Assistan Referees ruled the goal out for an offside.
Yuri Zhirkov was sent off in the 61st minute of the encounter for a second bookable offence. The Zenit St. Petersburg’s defender threw an elbow straight into the face of his opponent on an aerial challenge.
It was Zhirkov’s fifth red card in his international career. The Mexicans however held on for a memorable win.