Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Mexico recovers to beat NZ 2-1 in fiery Confed Cup game

Cristiano Ronaldo during a training session at the Rubin Training Ground in Kazan Cristiano Ronaldo during a training session at the Rubin Training Ground in Kazan
Damon Campbell | 24 June, 2017, 01:28

Superstar Cristiano Ronaldo headed an early victor on Wednesday as European champions Portugal took a big step towards the Confederations Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 victory over hosts Russian Federation.

Portugal will play New Zealand in a Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match scheduled for Saturday.

The plucky All Whites gave the Mexicans a scare in Wednesday's 2-1 defeat in Sochi with Leeds striker Chris Wood giving the Kiwis a shock first-half lead. In a frantic second half Raul Jimenez and Oribe Peralta scored to turn the result on its head. New Zealand's hopes of a first-ever victory in its fourth appearance at the World Cup warm-up tournament were thwarted nine minutes into the second half.

"In the first half, we played very well, with a lot of personality, " he said.

They can not catch Mexico or Portugal - both of whom are on four points - going into their last match against the European champions on Saturday.

Despite a lacklustre show, Marquez warned his rivals: "But keep in mind we want to win this tournament". "In the second half we came out with a different attitude", he said.

Santos made four changes to the team that had to swallow a last-minute 2-2 equalizer against Mexico while Russia's Stanislav Cherchesov brought on two new faces in defender Roman Shishkin and Ruslan Kambolov after an opening 2-0 over New Zealand.

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The match entered an extremely tensed final stage with Mexico creating the best chances, but they failed to make it count just as New Zealand were desperate to draw level.

Find out what time New Zealand vs Portugal gets underway where you are in the world. "I thank God I have a group of players who are so concentrated and willing to respond to any situation and play their hearts out for their coach". "We weren't European champions by accident", Ronaldo, Portugal's all-time leading scorer, told reporters after taking his worldwide tally to 74 goals.

Earlier, tensions erupted when Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio swore at the New Zealand coaching staff.

"He told us he could have a small fracture, fortunately it is not as serious an injury, but he won't play tomorrow", said Santos.

Speaking to reporters upon arrival in Sochi on Monday, Coach Osorio made references to the managerial rotations by saying, "We're thinking of giving opportunities to others to once again put out a very fresh and very competitive team".

In a weird scenario in Wednesday's clash, Osorio was involved in a heated argument with one of New Zealand's assistant coaches after Salcedo went down with an injury in the first half.

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