Nani was already celebrating with his teammates when Argentine referee Nestor Pitana asked for the ball and indicated the goal was being reviewed.
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Stanislav Cherchesov's men delivered with an impressive 2-0 win, a match that followed the tournament's opening ceremony which included Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Participants in the 2017 Confederations Cup are hosts Russian Federation, 2014 FIFA World Cup Champions Germany, 2015 Copa America Champions Chile, 2015 AFC Asian Cup Champion Australia, 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico, 2016 UEFA Euro Cup champs Portugal, OFC (Oceania Football Confederation) Nations Cup victors New Zealand and 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations Champion Cameroon.
Russia's president was in the $750 million new stadium in his native St. Petersburg to see forward Fyodor Smolov's 69th minute goal add to an own goal by New Zealand defender Michael Boxall in the 31st.
Russian Federation will play against Portugal in Moscow on June 21 and against Mexico - in Kazan on June 24.
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"Obviously in the first game of the tournament we wanted to get a better result than we did", New Zealand manager Anthony Hudson said.
"I believe we will have the same team as we did in this game against Portugal".
Russia's coach suggested it was an advantage to have such a pep talk.
Russia's win eases the pressure on winning its second game, against Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Moscow on Wednesday.
Speaking before Portugal faced Mexico in their Group A opener on Sunday in Kazan, Infantino also sent his condolences to the Portuguese people following the forest fire that killed more than 60 people in the country.
Ronaldo will be able to focus his fans' minds on playing after widespread suggestions this week he wants to leave Real Madrid and Spain, where his tax affairs are under investigation.
In the only match played Saturday, Smolov took his chance to shine.
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.
Glushakov dinked the ball over goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic, before being in a three-man race with two New Zealand defenders who were rushing back to clear the ball off the line.
Smolov's goal was rightly ruled offside before Russian Federation took the lead on 31 minutes.
New Zealand is now without a win in four trips to the Confederations Cup, and next plays Mexico on Wednesday in Sochi.