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Fans Celebrate Russia's Win In Confederations Cup Opener

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

The hosts almost went ahead after after seven minutes when Viktor Vasin's glancing header crashed against the upright with Stefan Marinovic well beaten.

The Kiwis threatened only with back-to-back chances in the 78th minute: A powerful Ryan Thomas shot saved by Russian Federation captain Igor Akinfeev and Tommy Smith's header blocked on the line.

An own-goal from Michael Boxall and Fedor Smolov's second-half strike sealed all three points for new coach Stanislav Cherchesov's side as the tournament hosts impressed at the Krestovsky Stadium.

Marinovic had to be at his best shortly after the break, as he produced a superb save to keep out Dmitry Poloz's impressive header.

Right back Alexander Samedov provided the assist with a square ball across the face of goal, and Fedor Smolov was in ideal position at the far post to poke it into the back of the net.

"The first half was quite scrappy - I think certainly the first goal was preventable, we gave the ball away in a really bad area".

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Fyodor Smolov both began and ended a counter-attack which put the result beyond doubt in the second half, with Russian Federation now turning their attention to a game against Portugal on Thursday.

Russia, a record low 63rd in FIFA's world positions, encounter Portugal on Wednesday and also New Zealand play Mexico the same day.

When the goal came, it had an ugly finish after two pretty pieces of individual skill once the All-Whites defense needlessly lost the ball. It came off some lovely passing from the hosts, with Glushakov lifting the ball over the goalkeeper and off the right post while a insane scramble at that post took place.

Scoring chances came early for Russian Federation, playing with confidence and unexpected flair, a powerful header by defender Viktor Vasin bouncing off the inside of the post before being cleared by New Zealand's Michael McGlinchey.

Ten minutes before kickoff, both teams lined up in front of the main stand to listen speeches by Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - What Vladimir Putin wants, Vladimir Putin tends to get.

Find out what time Russian Federation vs Portugal gets underway where you are in the world.

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