Cristiano Ronaldo’s 74th international goal was enough to earn Portugal victory over hosts Russia in the Confederations Cup. The Real Julius Nattinen Womens Jersey Madrid forward’s early header secured a 1-0 win at Moscow’s Spartak Stadium and left Fernando Santos’ side second in Group A, behind Mexico on goal difference. Only the goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev, winning his 100th cap, denied Portugal victory by a greater margin as he made vital saves from Ronaldo and André Silva either side of half-time. Russia were poor before half-time and although they improved after it, they were repeatedly forced back on the break as they committed men forward in search of an equaliserRonaldo, making his 141st appearance, needed eight minutes to make his mark, although the opening goal was far from all his own work. With Russia attempting to sit deep and deny Portugal space in midfield, Rapha?l Guerreiro found room on the left flank and delivered an inviting cross to the far post, where Ronaldo made the most of defender Fedor Kudriashov’s misjudgment to head home. Ronaldo proved the main threat throughout the first half as the hosts offered little going forward, and he tested Akinfeev with a 25th-minute free-kick before forcing the keeper to block with his legs seven minutes later. Russia might have been level as the half-time whistle approached but the striker Fedor Smolov could not adjust his feet in time to steer Aleksandr Golovin’s cross on target. Akinfeev kept Russia in it when he clawed away Silva’s 50th-minute header from close range, and he was in the right place at the right time to repel Cédric Soares’ long-range effort nine minutes later. Russia 0-1 Portugal: Confederations Cup 2017 – as it happened Minute-by-minute report: An early header from Cristiano Ronaldo gave Portugal the win against Russia, who started poorly but attacked with intent and verve in the second half Read more Russia, who beat New Zealand 2-0 in their opening fixture, belatedly launched their push and might have been level just after the hour when Alexander Samedov’s teasing cross was only fractionally too high for Smolov in the middle. Ronaldo passed up a glorious opportunity to extend his side’s lead just past the hour when he headed wide from Andre Gomes’ cross as Portugal broke at pace. It was Russia who finished strongly with Aleksandr Bukharov appealing in vain for a last-gasp penalty after going down in the box, before the defender Georgy Dzhikya headed inches over Rui Patricio’s crossbar deep into injury timeMexico dominated the second half and earned victory when Oribe Peralta scored from close range after 72 minutes, again after good work down the left from Aquino. There was controversy late in the game, with several players involved in a skirmish after Michael Boxall’s foul on Héctor Herrera. Referee Bakary Gassama consulted a television monitor and his video assistant referees, before Boxall, Herrera and Mexico’s Diego Reyes received yellow cards. Mexico’s win puts them top of Group A, level with Portugal on four points. The result also means Russia will almost certainly need to beat Mexico in their final group match on Saturday to reach the semi-finals, with Portugal facing already eliminated New ZealandThe bottom line is this: they didn’t try to win; they tried not to lose. It was not the performance of an heir to the throne. It was staid, uncreative, limp. And it’ll hurt them to hear it – but NSW choked. They went into their shell. In 30 minutes they went from dynasty busters to bumbling Blues, eyes wide in the headlights. Chokers. What else could you call it? Post-match Andrew Johns described the Blues’ second half as “the dumbest half of football NSW have ever played”. His point was that Thurston’s shoulder was almost hanging off. A pretty simple paradigm of rugby league is that if there’s blood in the water, send in the sharks. Yet no-one among their number had the nous to throw big bodies at the great man. Not the halves, Maloney and Pearce. Not the captain, Boyd Cordner, lauded as a “doer” rather than a talker – the Blues needed both. They appeared to have neither. They needed follow someone to run into Thurston’s shoulder, again and again. State of Origin 2017 Game 2: Queensland Maroons beat NSW Blues 18-16 – as it happened Minute-by-minute: Johnathan Thurston’s late conversion gave the Maroons victory over the Blues in Game II in Sydney to send the series to a decider in Brisbane Read more And yet there was nothing from the Blues’ coaches box. A message wasn’t sent out. Wally Lewis could’ve been talking directly to Cordner, Pearce and Maloney when he said post-match: “The great players take control in the difficult times. They demand the ball. They put the play on that inspires everyone around them. “NSW did that for the first 40 minutes. It should’ve been what they continued to do. Instead they clocked off. They offered Queensland a chance to get back into the game and that was not wasted.” And so to Brisbane and a wet dream for Channel Nine’s ad sales staff: a decider in Game III, in Brisbane and in Cooper Cronk’s last game for Queensland. It will likely be the most-watched television program of 2017. And it will be unlikely that Queensland are written off as long as there’s Amos Youth Jersey breath in Smith, Thurston, Slater and Cronk. The dynasty lives. Never write off the champions

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