ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 17 (Reuters) - Hosts Russia eased to a 2-0 win over New Zealand on Saturday in the opening match of the Confederations Cup, a tournament seen as a test for the country before it stages next year’s World Cup.
Midfielder Denis Glushakov flicked the ball over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic in the 31st minute as New Zealand defenders rushed back to try to clear it off the line. New Zealand’s Michael Boxall got a touch on the ball and was credited with an own goal.
Sloppy defending by New Zealand allowed Russian forward Fedor Smolov to tap in a low cross by team mate Alexander Samedov in the 69th minute.
Russia, a record low 63rd in FIFA’s world rankings, face Portugal on Wednesday and New Zealand play Mexico the same day.
Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin and Alexander Winning; Writing by Moscow newsroom, editing by Ed Osmond