Fedor Smolov – Courtesy of 2017 Confederations Cup Facebook Page
CAIRO – 17 June 2017: In the opening match of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup held in Russia on Saturday, the host country team championed against New Zealand with a 2-0 win, securing their first three points in the group stage of the tournament.
The St. Petersburg Stadium match started off with strong plays by Russia, looking for a victory, but New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic blocked all chances of a goal.
However, Russian midfielder Denis Glushakov managed to kick the ball over Marinovic at the 31 minute mark, marking the home team’s first goal in the tournament.
After the goal New Zealand wanted to return to the game, but began to realize they were faced by a strong opponent.
Both teams showed great passion at the start of the second half, with New Zealand looking to even the score while Russia looking to secure victory with another goal.
New Zealand’s desire wouldn’t be actualized as forward Fedor Smolov’s tap-in gave Russia their second goal of the match.
With only 20 minutes left in the match and the need to score two goals, the tempo slowed for New Zealand.
With this victory, Russia is now first in group A with three points and New Zealand in last place with zero points. Portugal and Mexico, who are also in group A, will play against each other on June 18.