By Emmanuel Okogba
A Cristiano Ronaldo’s 8th minute header was the difference between Portugal and Russia as the Confederations Cup entered its second round of matches on Wednesday.
Raphael Guerreiro swung in a wonderful, deep cross from the left-hand side and Ronaldo left Russian goalie Igor Akinfeev helpless with a trademark header at the back post after peeling away from Fedor Kudryashov.
Both sides started the game slowly, giving the ball away cheaply on few occasions but it was Portugal that settled in quickest with the goal from Ronaldo acting as an evidence.
Another opportunity came for Fernando Santos’ men when they were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out to the right of the goal following a foul by Kudryashov, but Ronaldo shot straight at the keeper.
Russia got their share of the chances when former Chelsea man, Yuri Zhirkov drove down the left-hand touchline before playing a ball that was too heavy for Smolov who was being chased down by Bruno Alves.
Both teams failed to capitalise on the few other chances that came their way, with Russia now risking elimination in the event that they fail to beat Mexico in their final group game.
Portugal now with four points will be expected to grab all three available points and qualify for the Semi-final when they meet New Zealand on Saturday.