Portugal weighs resting Ronaldo for New Zealand game

Host Russia Exits Confederations Cup After Loss to Mexico

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

Cristiano Ronaldo is set to be rested for tomorrow's clash against New Zealand.

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. A subsequent attempt by the European champions to increase proved futile.

His loudest ovation was for applauding back to the crowd when substituted midway through the second half.

"For us it was very important to get three points against New Zealand and now against the hosts we feel that we have a great chance". "We play away from home, against the host team, with a lot of support from their fans, and fighting for the qualification".

While Ronaldo is officially the world's best player, Russia's inexperienced backline were badly exposed against Portugal and could come underdone again if they are forced into facing Mexican pressure without any outlet of their own to press forward.

It was their first goal in 555 minutes of Confederations Cup football before Raul Jimenez and Oribe Peralta scored second-half goals for Mexico as the Kiwis faded.

Portugal's win came at a cost though, as Borussia Dortmund defender Raphael Guerreiro had to be helped off on 65 minutes with a suspected broken leg.

Mexico's bench made key plays during the second half to secure their previous win.

The Real Madrid superstar enjoyed a stunning sequence of games to end his 2016-17 campaign, netting 16 times in his final 10 fixtures.

The Colombian's much-criticized policy saw eight changes lead to a drab performance against New Zealand in Sochi on Wednesday, when El Tri went 1-0 down and were outplayed in a disjointed first-half performance before battling back to win 2-1.

"I'm not going to say whether Ronaldo will play or not, because I don't want our opponents to know".

"We improved greatly when Hector came in and we have to see what happens now against Russian Federation", said Osorio.

"We can't play a game of this magnitude being afraid of losing", Mexico midfielder Andres Guardado said.

Asked who he thinks will provide the bigger challenge - the world's best player, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, or Mexican record scorer Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, both formerly of Manchester United - Vasin replied that there's no comparison.

The Oceania champions took a shock lead when Clayton Lewis threaded his pass between two defenders to Wood, who coolly fired home on 42 minutes.


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