Russian Federation 2-0 New Zealand: Hosts win Confederations Cup Group A opener

Cherchesov- cropped

Russia's midfielder Denis Glushakov (L) vies for the ball against New Zealand's defender Michael Boxall during the 2017 Confederations Cup group A football match between Russian Federation and New Zealand at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint-Petersburg on June 17, 2017.

Hosts Russia opened the 2017 Confederations Cup with a 2-0 win against New Zealand in St Petersburg on Saturday.

A lovely display by Erokhin and Poloz had set Glushakov through on goal, and the latter's effort was turned in by Boxall to put the hosts ahead in the 31st minute.

It would mean they would nearly certainly need to get at least a draw against world No 17 Mexico, and probably a win given their last group match was against European champions Portugal.

With three points, Russian Federation will next face Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Moscow on Wednesday. The All-Whites won every match they played in the OFC Nations Cup until having to settle for a penalty shootout win in the final after a scoreless regulation period.

The 20-minute ceremony involved some 1,500 participants, who displayed various scenes of traditions and culture of four cities in Russian Federation, selected to host the global football tournament this year, reported Tass news agency.

All Whites coach Anthony Hudson admitted to being "slightly deflated" after his side were convincingly outplayed in going down 2-0 to host nation Russian Federation in the Confederations Cup opener.

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"We knew the scenario with who was coming to the game", New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson said.

Cherchesov felt president Putin's pre-match speech which ended with the proclamation, "Dear friends, let us watch football! He is focused on what needs to be done here, and without a doubt he will have a great tournament", Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio said Saturday.

Russia's next game comes up against European champions Portugal on Wednesday, while New Zealand will face Mexico also on Wednesday.

Smolov's goal was rightly ruled out for offside, but dominant Russian Federation were not to be denied, taking the lead on 31 minutes.

A chest-high pass to forward Dmitry Poloz was deftly guided into the path of Denis Glushakov who chipped the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic.

Russian authorities said the Confederations Cup's ticketing system, which requires ticket holders to apply for a personalised fan-ID, ensures that fans are screened and trouble makers are kept away.

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