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Russia v Portugal Live Commentary, 21/06/2017

0 - 1
Cristiano Ronaldo (8)
Otkritie Bank Arena


Portugal move above Russia and to the top of Group A, for the time being at least, with a narrow win over Russia thanks to Cristiano Ronaldo’s eighth minute header. Portugal are now in pole positon to qualify for the semi-finals with just New Zealand to play, while Russia’s fate will go down to their final group game against Mexico. That’s all from us for today, thanks for joining us and we hope you can join us again soon.
Full-time: Russia 0-1 Portugal
The ball falls to Smolov 25 yards out from goal and he goes for goal with a side-footed, first-time effort, but it goes comfortably wide of Patricio’s goal. That could well be that for Russia.
CHANCE!! A huge chance for Russia to steal a point from this game as Dzhikiya gets up well at the back post to meet Samedov’s corner eight yards out from goal, but he can’t keep the header down and Patricio watches it sail over the bar.
We’re into the first of four minutes of added time and Russia are throwing plenty of numbers forward as Patricio has to react quickly to backpedal and turn an attempted cross away from goal.
Bukharov goes to ground inside the penalty area and appeals to the referee, who is not interested and waives play on, despite the Russian substitute’s calls to go to the VAR to have a look at the replay.
The crowd are doing their best to get behind this Russian side in these closing stages but it’s not quite happening for them at the moment and they still aren't able to test Patricio who has had very little to do throughout the game.
A. Bukharov
F. Kudryashov
Russia are responding by making their third and final change in a final attempt to get back into this game. Alexander Bukharov is the man coming on to replace Kudryashov.
Danilo Pereira
Adrien Silva
A third and final change for Portugal now as Danilo comes on to replace Adrien Silva.
Russia have just lost some of the momentum they had built up a few minutes ago which will certainly be a relief to Portugal, who were looking a little rattled for a short while.
Gelson Martins
André Silva
Portugal are making their second change now with Gelson Martins coming on to replace Andre Silva. That change certainly gives Portugal a pacey option on the counter attack.
A. Samedov
Yellow Card
Another yellow card, this time for Samedov for bringing down Eliseu on the left-hand side midway through his own half. Portugal are though unable to make anything of the free-kick.
Chance!! Another chance for Andre Silva to put this game to bed as he picks up the ball in space inside the left-hand edge of the Russia penalty area, but he takes too long over the shot and allows Russia to get men back in the way of the shot to block it away from danger.
G. Dzhikiya
Yellow Card
Carvalho heads Samedov’s cross away at the near post and Pepe is then fouled by Dzhikiya looking to take the ball away from his own area. The Russian defender then joins Bernardo Silva in going into the referee’s book for the foul.
Bernardo Silva
Yellow Card
Zhirkov once again gets on the ball out wide on the left-hand side and he wins a free-kick having been brought down by Bernardo Silva. The Portugal winger goes into the book for the foul and Russia have a free-kick in a good position.
Russia are really starting to grow in confidence now as Zhirkov swings in a dangerous cross from the left-hand side which Patricio has to come quickly off his line to claim.
D. Poloz
D. Kombarov
Russia are also making a second change now with Dmitry Poloz coming on in place of Kombarov.
Raphaël Guerreiro
Guerreiro looks to be struggling with an injury and he’s not going to be able to continue, with Eliseu dos Santos coming on in his place.
The game is really opening up now as Smolov has another half-chance on the edge of the box, only to knock the ball too far ahead of him allowing Portugal to recover and regain possession before he can shoot. Ronaldo then wastes a good position at the other end, ballooning his first-time effort over the bar from the edge of the box having been picked out by Bernardo Silva.
CHANCE!! A chance at the other end now as Gomes draws Akinfeev off his line then stands up a cross towards Ronaldo on the edge of the six yard box, but the ball is just behind the Portugal captain and he fails to direct his header on target, with several Russia players having got back onto the line.
Close! A half-chance for Russia as Samedov stands up a cross from the right-hand side which Smolov attacks at pace in the middle, but the ball is fractionally too high for the striker and Portugal escape.
The home crowd, who have been unusually quiet in this game so far, finally come to life and begin to make some noise in response to those chances for Portugal.
Chance!! Portugal break forward on the counter attack as Bernardo Silva picks out Andre Silva at the back post, but the striker’s header back across goal is well blocked away from danger. Cedric then drives a powerful, dipping shot towards goal from distance, which Akinfeev has to get across quickly to in order to keep it out.
Yellow Card
Pepe goes into the book for a deliberate handball which prevented Zhirkov from getting away down the left-hand side.
Zhirkov whips in a low cross towards Smolov at the back post and the striker is completely unmarked as the ball reaches him, but the flag goes up for offside against Zhirkov and play is halted. Replays appear to show him to be just about level though.
Guerreiro makes a real mess of clearing a cross from the left-hand side, turning the ball straight over his own crossbar, but Pepe gets up well to head the corner clear.
Portugal have settled in this second half in a similar manner to which they played the majority of the first, with Russia still struggling to get on the ball for any length of time.
SAVE!! What a wonderful save from Akinfeev!! Ronaldo rolls the ball back to Cedric who whips a delightful cross into the middle towards Andre Silva, and the striker gets above Dzhikiya and heads the ball towards goal from seven yards out, but Akinfeev sticks out an arm and turns the ball away at full stretch.
Andre Silva gets into a good position close to the byline down the left-hand side, but his cross is a poor one and balloons over the top of Akinfeev’s bar and out for a goal kick.
Kick-off! Portugal get the second half underway.
A. Erokhin
R. Shishkin
Russia are making a change at the start of this second half with Alexandr Erokhin coming on for Shishkin.
Russia manager Stanislav Cherchesov may well turn to Dmitry Poloz in the second half in order to give Smolov more support up front, as the striker has looked extremely isolated throughout the first period. Portugal meanwhile will want more of the same after the break, although they will want a second goal to give them some breathing space on the scoreline.
Portugal lead at the break thanks to Ronaldo’s early headed goal from the only real opportunity either side has had. Portugal have been in control of the game though against a Russian side who have struggled to maintain possession for any length of time.
Half-time: Russia 0-1 Portugal
Stanislav Cherchesov is looking a little bemused on the edge of his technical area. He will certainly be pondering what his half-time team talk is going to include as his side have been outplayed in this first half.
Cedric has been extremely lively down the right-hand side for Portugal in this half and he gets on the ball once again, although this time he’s well tackled before he can make anything of the good position.
Chance!! The best chance of the game so far for Russia as Golovin whips in a low cross from the right-hand side and picks out Smolov who is unmarked in front of the near post, but the striker fails to open his body up enough and side-foots his left-footed effort well wide of the goal. He may well have been better going with his right foot then.
Ronaldo drops deep to get possession 30 yards out from goal and looks to pick out Andre Silva with a diagonal ball into the box, but Vasin gets there ahead of the striker and knocks it behind for a corner, which is eventually cleared away, albeit unconvincingly.
Russia get a rare chance to venture forward through Zhirkov who drives down the left-hand touchline before playing the ball into the path of Smolov, but the pass is fractionally too heavy for the striker and he can only knock it out of play for a goal kick under pressure from Bruno Alves.
Smolov is looking extremely isolated up front for Russia at the moment which is making it difficult for Russia to make any real inroads into the Portuguese final third.
SAVE!! A huge chance for Portugal as Ronaldo steps past Vasin with ease inside the penalty area and only has Akinfeev to beat from the corner of the six yard box, but his low, well-struck shot is well kept out by the Russian goalkeeper's legs.
Carvalho returns the favour from moments earlier by bringing down Glushakov, although this time the referee keeps his cards in his pocket.
Bernardo Silva looks to slip Cedric in behind the Russian defence inside the right-hand edge of the penalty area, but the ball is fractionally too heavy and Victor Vasin clears it out for a corner, from which Russia are then given a free-kick following a push from Pepe.
D. Glushakov
Yellow Card
Denis Glushakov goes into the book for a foul on William Carvalho.
An opportunity for Portugal as they are awarded a free-kick 25 yards out to the right of the goal following a foul by Kudryashov, and Ronaldo drives the free-kick towards goal, but Akinfeev isn’t fooled by Ronaldo’s attempt to drill it in at his side and holds onto the ball with ease.
Aleksandr Golovin picks up the ball in space down the right-hand side of the Portuguese penalty area and looks to get a cross in towards the middle, but his cross is a poor one and is easily blocked away.
Cedric Soares links up well with Bernardo Silva down the right-hand side, but having got the ball back from the winger his control lets him down and Russia are able to steal back possession before he can get a cross into the middle.
Fernando Santos is patrolling the edge of his technical area but looks pretty calm at the moment, and understandably so as his side are in complete control of this match despite only being one goal up.
Yuri Zhirkov wins Russia their first corner of the game and Dmitriy Kombarov floats it in towards the back post, but the ball is too heavy for anyone to get on the end of and Portugal are able to clear it away beyond the far post.
Russia are finding it really hard to maintain possession for any length of time at the moment and Portugal look extremely comfortable.
Ronaldo gets up extremely well and flicks a header on towards Andre Silva from a long ball forward from Rui Patricio, but the ball won’t sit down for the striker and Russia regain possession. It looks as though Ronaldo is floating in behind Andre Silva as opposed to being alongside him as a second striker.
Russia had started the game sitting very deep but they will have to look to be a little more positive having conceded that goal.
Raphaël Guerreiro
Guerreiro had support outside him but decided to put the early cross in himself, and picked out Ronaldo at the back post perfectly.
Cristiano Ronaldo
GOOOOOOAAAAAAALLLLLL!!! Ronaldo heads Portugal in front!! Raphael Guerreiro swings in a wonderful, deep cross from the left-hand side and Ronaldo peels away from Fedor Kudryashov at the back post and powers a header past Akinfeev from six yards out.
Portugal have certainly settled into this game far quicker than their opponents as Akinfeev has to come off his line quickly to prevent Cristiano Ronaldo getting on the end of a ball over the top.
Fyodor Smolov brings the ball down from a long ball forward by Igor Akinfeev, but the striker is penalised for a push on Pepe prior to controlling the ball.
A relatively quiet start to the game from both sides so far but Portugal have given the ball away cheaply a couple of times already, which will certainly be frustrating for Fernando Santos.
Kick-off! Referee Gianluca Rocchi blows his whistle and Russia get the game underway.
The players are out on the pitch and the national anthems are underway. Kick-off is not far away now.
The two sides last faced each other in an international friendly in November 2015, with Russia’s Roman Shirokov scoring an 89th minute winner in a 1-0 win.
Much of the pre-tournament build-up surrounding Portugal focused on Cristiano Ronaldo’s off-field issues at Real Madrid, and he starts up front alongside AC Milan’s new signing Andre Silva.
Russia are expected to line up with the same formation that served them well against New Zealand last time out, with a five man defence which includes former Chelsea left-back Yuri Zhirkov. Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev meanwhile will win his 100th cap for his country.
Subs: Beto, Jose Sa, Neto, Nelsinho, Eliseu, Fonte, Pereira, Pizzi, Nani, Moutinho, Quaresma, Martins
Portugal (4-4-2): Patricio; Cedric, Alves, Pepe, Guerreiro; Bernardo Silva, Carvalho, Adrien Silva, Gomes; Ronaldo, Andre Silva
Subs: Gabulov, Guilherme, Smolnikov, Kutepov, Kambolov, Gazinskiy, Tarasov, Erokhin, Kanunnikov, Poloz, Bukharov
Teams: Russia (3-5-2): Akinfeev; Samedov, Dzhikiya, Vasin, Kudryashov, Zhirkov; Shishkin, Golovin, Glushakov; Smolov, Kombarov
A win for Portugal would lift them above Russia to the top of the group, for a few hours at least, however a defeat would leave them relying on other results going their way in order to qualify for the semi-finals.
Portugal meanwhile were denied three points in their opening group game by a stoppage time equaliser from Hector Moreno, as Mexico twice came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw.
A win for Russia would secure their place in the semi-finals with a game to spare, regardless of what happens in today’s other game in this group between Mexico and New Zealand.
Russia, the tournament hosts, sit top of Group A having beaten New Zealand 2-0 in their opening game, thanks to a goal from Fyodor Smolov and a Michael Boxall own goal.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the 2017 Confederations Cup match between Russia and Portugal at the Otkrytiye Arena in Moscow.