Hosts Russia pass Kiwi test

Russia's Fedor Smolov celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between Russia and New Zealand, at the St. Petersburg Stadium, Russia, Saturday, June 17, 2017.

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After New Zealand lost possession in their own half, Poloz's neat touch set up Denis Glushakov, who dinked his effort over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic and off the post before Boxall bundled the ball into his own net.

A SuperSport United defender scored an own goal, as Russian Federation claimed a 2-0 win over New Zealand to begin their FIFA Confederations Cup campaign with three points.

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The 68,000-seat St Petersburg stadium will be a flagship venue at the 2018 World Cup and the home of Russian football powerhouse Zenit, but its decade-long construction marred by corruption allegations and delays has so far caused more disappointment than satisfaction.

Russia's players duly delivered a victory their head of state had all but demanded this week by beating a poor New Zealand team 2-0.

We played the match we have been planning for.

"The fact the leader of the country came to the match is on the one hand an additional positive, but it is also an additional responsibility", Russian Federation manager Stanislav Cherchesov, whose team face Portugal on Wednesday, told reporters.

Besides New Zealand, Portugal, Mexico, Cameroon, Chile, Australia and Germany have also sent their national teams to participate in the cup.

Russian Federation started the second half on the front foot and Kiwi keeper Marinovic made a stunning double save to keep out a Polz header and Erokhin's follow up. 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.

"The fact the leader of the country came to the match is on the one hand an additional positive, but it is also an additional responsibility", Russian Federation manager Stanislav Cherchesov said.

Ten minutes before kickoff, both teams lined up in front of the main stand to listen speeches by Putin and FIFA President Gianni Infantino. During his global career, he won three FIFA World Cups in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and is the only player ever to do so.

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