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Ronaldo on target as Portugal ease into semifinals

25 June 2017

Portugal will be hoping to secure progression to the semi-finals of the FIFA Confederations Cup when they take on New Zealand.

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

Mexico's Nestor Araujo, inseen in the fram, scores during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Mexico and Russia, at the Kazan Arena, Russia, Saturday, June 24, 2017.

It was their first goal in 555 minutes of Confederations Cup football, but Mexico's Raul Jimenez and Oribe Peralta struck in the second half as the Kiwis faded. Russian Federation need to beat Mexico in Kazan to avoid their prospects hinging on a Portugal loss, while a point would be enough for the Mexicans to advance.After the draw with Portugal, Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio made eight changes against New Zealand, a plan that initially backfired.

Russia's early exit from was another setback for next year's World Cup hosts who also went out of last year's European Championship at the group stage, when they failed to win a game and were regarded by many as the worst team in the tournament.

The hosts wanted a penalty after Yuri Zhirkov fell inside the area in the sixth minute, but he was barely touched and the referee let the play continue.

Russian Federation had seen two penalty appeals rejected before taking the lead after 25 minutes, Alexander Samedov finishing well from inside the box after Aleksandr Erokhin teed him up following a miskick. The defender headed the ball into the opposite corner, over goalkeeper Akinfeev.

Mexico were level within five minutes, however, as Araujo looped a header across goal that deceived Akinfeev and nestled into the net.

Moments later, Hector Moreno thought he had a third goal for Mexico - which would have seen them take the group lead over Portugal - but it was ruled out for offside following a video review.

"Every goalkeeper is entitled to commit mistakes and it is something you have to live with", he told reporters.

But that also created more room for the risky Portugal forward line and in added time it was Nani who put the icing on the cake for his side, burying a powerful low shot past Marinovic from just inside the penalty area.

Ronaldo on target as Portugal ease into semifinals