Meanwhile, Mexico scored either side of halftime to eliminate hosts Russian Federation from the Confederations Cup with a win 2-1 on Saturday that sent them into the semi-finals.
Portugal's Andre Silva, left, celebrates with teammates Joao Moutinho and Pepe after scoring his side's third goal during the Confederations Cup, Group A soccer match between New Zealand and Portugal, at the St. Petersburg S.
"Maybe you saw the reply, but as the game progressed, I indicated to the referee I thought it should have been replayed". Overall though, it was a fair victory.
New Zealand coach Anthony Hudson felt his side could return home with plenty to build on despite not being able to register a victory.
"We knew we were going to have a really tough game against a very strong side in the host nation, who simply had to go for the win", said Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio.
"We played very well, we wanted to win and get the result in the first half, (but) it was hard to play better than we played because the grass (on the pitch) was not very good".
In the semifinals, Portugal will play against the runner-up in Group B on Wednesday in Kazan.
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On Sunday, Germany will play Cameroon, and Chile will play Australia.
Santos fielded an attacking line-up packed with experience and resisted the temptation to rest Ronaldo with Portugal still requiring a point to qualify and vying with Mexico and Russian Federation for top spot.
But Ronaldo soon rattled the crossbar before Ipswich defender Tommy Smith bundled over Danilo Pereira following a corner and the Real Madrid forward scored the penalty.
They cheered when Ronaldo was on the big screens, even during Portugal's national anthem.
Andre Silva, profiting from a Ricardo Quaresma assist made it 3-0 in the 80th minute when he finished his handsome individual effort with a superb strike from inside the box.
New Zealand carved out their first chance in the 58th minute, but Rui Patricio produced a superb save to deny Chris Woods at the far post.
Nani replaced Cristiano Ronaldo in the 67th minute and the forward nearly rewarded his coach soon afterwards but his shot inside the penalty box only won his team a penalty.
Portugal are a class above Mexico and Russian Federation, and picked a near full strength line up, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva and Pepe.
Former Manchester United winger Nani then drilled in a fourth in injury time, with Portugal now having lost just one of their last 23 competitive fixtures.