Cristiano Ronaldo scored an awesome hat-trick as Portugal snatched a 3-3 draw with Spain in a World Cup classic here Friday.
Real Madrid star Ronaldo crashed in an 88th minute free-kick to snatch a point for Portugal after a second-half goal from Nacho put the Spaniards 3-2 ahead.
Ronaldo’s late equaliser capped a storming encounter which came after a chaotic few days which saw Spain coach Julen Lopetegui sacked and Fernando Hierro appointed as his replacement.
Earlier, Ronaldo had twice put the European champions in front only for Diego Costa to bring Spain level on each occasion on a steamy night on Russia’s Black Sea coast.
But then Ronaldo stepped up to send his free-kick from 25 yards up over the wall and into the net, as the Iberian neighbours settled for a point apiece in this Group B encounter.
It was a remarkable signal of intent from the current Ballon d’Or winner, who had never made a serious impact in any of his previous three World Cups, only managing to score one goal in each.
In one night the Real Madrid superstar doubled his World Cup finals goal tally, and made history by scoring at an eighth consecutive major tournament going back to Euro 2004, when he was still a teenager.
It was typical of the now 33-year-old to take the headlines after news from the Spain camp had dominated the build-up to this game.
The evening had started in style for Ronaldo, as he scored a fourth-minute penalty after going down in the box under a foul from Nacho, playing at right-back with Dani Carvajal not fit.
“Credit Super Sport”