Confederations Cup: Russia fear Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Portugal clash

Jun 21, 2017, 13:30 IST | AFP

Midfielder Miranchuk insists hosts must keep a check on Ronaldo & Co’s counter-attacks to put up a fight tonight

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. Pic/AFPPortugal's Cristiano Ronaldo. Pic/AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal take on Confederation Cup hosts and Group A leaders Russia today with the tax storm scandal clouding Ronaldo's Real Madrid future. Having opened their Confed Cup campaign with a 2-0 win over New Zealand, Russia face a step up against Euro 2016 winners Portugal and their troubled superstar captain.

Despite the off-field disruption, Ronaldo picked up the man-of-the-match award in Portugal's opening 2-2 draw with Mexico on Sunday. Russia know the key to derailing Portugal is ensuring Ronaldo has a quiet match at Moscow's Spartak Stadium.

End result matters
"The first place in group after the first game means nothing," said Russian midfielder Aleksei Miranchuk. "It only matters after three games. We saw how dangerous Portuguese counter-attacks can be against Mexico. We must be ready for them."

Home support for hosts
The hosts will have vocal home support as their captain and goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev is set to make his 100th appearance for Russia.

Portugal's coach Fernando Santos has said he will rotate his team through the Confed Cup. After Portugal's defensive frailties were exposed against Mexico, Santos could inject some pace in midfield by starting with Gelson Martins, Nelson Semedo and Andre Silva. Strangely, Portugal have never won in Moscow, losing all three of their previous games there.

Live on TV
Russia vs Portugal: Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD & Ten 2, 20:30
Mexico vs NZ: Sony SIX, Sony SIX HD & Ten 2, 23:30

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