Cristiano Ronaldo confident for Confederations Cup final
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 25, 2017,
Jun 25, 2017, 7:10
A solo effort from Andre Silva, his eighth goal in 11 appearances, in the 80th minute and a stoppage-time goal from substitute Nani completed the scoring. Mexico had a bright start and even after falling behind never looked like panicking.
Shortly after Zhirkov's red card Russian defender Viktor Vasin collected another yellow card for his team and with minutes remaining before the final whistle Alexander Golovin was penalized with a yellow card.
New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, who helped Unterhaching win promotion from the German fourth division last season, kept the score down with a superb second-half display.
New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson called it "an incredible sign of respect" to see the strong Portugal lineup on arriving at the stadium.
Mexico couldn't afford to not get the job done here and the manager picked the strongest possible team, with Javier Hernandez, Carlos Vela, Jonathan dos Santos, Andres Guardado and Miguel Layun all fully rested.
New Zealand created a few more chances in the second half, their best coming as the hour mark approached. "They proved on the field that they're a team with a great spirit and real determination".
Mexico also advanced by beating host Russian Federation 2-1 in Kazan on Saturday.
Ronaldo did not complain and soon scored when Portugal earned its penalty.
Four minutes later Bernardo Silva - set to leave Monaco in a £43m deal - doubled the lead with a close-range finish from a low cross from Pereira Eliseu, but in doing so landed awkwardly on his ankle before Tom Doyle made a sliding challenge on the midfielder.
Marinovic made impressive saves to deny Ronaldo, Andre Silva and Nani but was powerless stop Andre Silva when he collected the ball on the halfway line, ran at two defenders who backed off, and fired his shot into the far corner. "You have to try to reach the goal and prevent them from scoring".
Mexico's path to the knockout stage was more hard, as El Tri fell behind in the 25th minute despite controlling possession for much of the first half to that point.
Hirving Lozano gave the lead to Mexico when he scored his team's second goal seven minutes after the start of the second half.
The lead was short-lived, however, with Mexico swiftly equalising through a Nestor Araujo header, the centre-back directing a header past Russia's goalkeeper Akinfeev, although he did not seem to be going for goal.
Hector Moreno then appeared to give Mexico an insurance goal in the 61st minute, but it was disallowed when the video assistant referee ruled he was offside.
The Russia crowd responded as its team chased victory after the break, but it was a defensive mix-up that handed Mexico victory.