Spain looked set to beat Iberian rivals Portugal thanks to a Nacho wondergoal, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick shared the spoils.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning hat-trick earned Portugal a dramatic 3-3 draw in their Group B opener against Iberian neighbours Spain.
Spain led with three minutes to go after Nacho Fernandez hit a wonderful 25-yard drive but Ronaldo was determined to steal the headlines for himself.
And he ended the day with a World Cup match-ball after hitting an outrageous late free-kick to ensure the spoils were shared in this blockbuster clash in Sochi.
Captain Ronaldo had given Portugal a fourth-minute lead from the penalty spot after he was fouled by Madrid team-mate Nacho, restoring the lead thanks to David de Gea’s horrible mistake.
Diego Costa replied twice to get the 2010 champions level, with Nacho’s beautiful goal having seemingly settled a high-class encounter at the Fisht Stadium.
Ronaldo, though, had other ideas and stepped up to beat De Gea again with a perfect 20-yard free-kick, almost snatching all three points with a stoppage-time header.
With the Sochi crowd on the edge of their seats, Ronaldo delivered with a trademark curler that bent over and away from the wall to settle a contest that will go down in history as a World Cup classic.
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