Portugal to edge out hosts
Portugal to edge out hosts

Russia and Portugal look set for a cagey encounter when they meet in the Confederations Cup in Moscow on Wednesday.
The teams will be playing their second games of the competition and the hosts will be aiming to book their place in the semi-finals with a second victory, while the reigning European champions will be hoping to take their tally to four points.

With Mexico fancied to beat New Zealand in Group A's other game later in the day, a win for either side is likely to prove crucial in the battle to reach the last four.

As already mentioned, a Michael Boxall own goal and a late Fyodor Smolov strike saw the Russians make a winning start to the tournament with a 2-0 win over the aforementioned Kiwis.

They are currently n/a to claim a second win when they step out on Wednesday at Moscow's Otkrytiye Arena and Krasnodar's Smolov could again be their biggest threat.

The 27-year-old has enjoyed a good season and will relish the challenge of taking on the physical Portuguese defence.

Of course the star for Portugal will be Cristiano Ronaldo but the current crop of Selecao talent have shown they are more than just the Real Madrid man, winning the Euro 2016 final despite seeing their skipper limp off early in the match.

Fernando Santos' men drew their opening game against Mexico 2-2 and will have been disappointed after taking the lead after 86 minutes through Cedric Soares, only for Hector Moreno to equalise in stoppage time.

After some barren years, Portugal seem to be emerging from a slumber and have a lot of exciting youngsters coming through the ranks.

Santos' side are n/a to win but will need to re-write their recent history having lost on two of the last three occasions these sides have met.

In fact, their last three games have finished 1-0 and it could be another cagey encounter in the capital.

A draw is n/a and goals could be at a premium in this one, meaning under 2.5 goals may well be on the cards n/a.

Admittedly neither nation make too many chances and often have to rely on their sturdy defences combined with the odd moment of brilliance to get results.

On paper though, Portugal should have enough to triumph but it could be argued that view comes from somewhat of a naïve position due to the uncertainty over the Russian squad, due to them all plying their trades at home.

Recommended bet: Less than 2.5 goals in the game [30909830]

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