Portugal draws with Spain with spectacular Ronaldo hat trick

A stellar performance by Ronaldo staved off defeat by Portugal's opponents

A dramatic last-minute Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick has earned Portugal a draw with Spain in a classic World Cup performance in Sochi.

The Real Madrid forward fired an 88th-minute swerving set-piece into the top corner to deny the Spanish a much-needed victory at the end of what has been a bad week for them in the south of Russia.

The build-up to the match had been dominated by the shock departure of Spain coach Julen Lopetegui two days before the tournament kicked off.

But it was Ronaldo who hit the headlines with a stellar performance on the field of play.

Ronaldo had scored the opener, a penalty in the fourth minute after an illegal tackle by Nacho in the box, before a low shot by Diego Costa brought Spain back into the match.

But an uncharacteristic fumble by David de Gea just before the break let a Ronaldo shot through his gloves and over the line.

Lopetegui's replacement, Fernando Hierro, saw his team respond through Costa again, the Atletico Madrid striker netting a goal nine minutes after half-time, before Nacho made up for his earlier penalty with a spectacular volley from the edge of the area that seemed to have given Spain victory.

In the dying minutes, Ronaldo had the last word, however, putting away a free-kick.

In so doing, Portugal's captain became just the fourth player in history to score at four World Cups.

 

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