Sports

Ronaldo hat-trick earns Portugal draw with Spain in thriller

Portugal´s Cristiano Ronaldo curled in a sizzling late free kick to strike the first hat-trick of the 2018 World Cup and grab his side a point in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Spain on Friday as the Group B blockbuster lived up to the hype.
Spain defender Nacho Fernandez tripped Ronaldo to give away a penalty in the fourth minute which his Real Madrid team mate dispatched but Diego Costa levelled for Spain in the 24th with a blistering strike, displaying his notorious brute force as well as his remarkable skill to get past the Portugal defence.
Costa had tangled with opposing defender Pepe in the build-up to the goal, which was the first at a World Cup to be given after consultation with the video assistant referee (VAR), but Ronaldo pulled the European champions ahead again right before halftime with a shot that squeezed under David de Gea.
Costa clattered home another equaliser in the 55th while Nacho´s stunning first goal for his country three minutes later looked to have given Spain a galvanising victory two days after their preparations were thrown into disarray when coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked for agreeing to join Real Madrid behind the Spanish soccer federation´s back.
But Ronaldo, who became the first player to score in eight consecutive major international tournaments, yet again delivered on the big occasion with his expertly taken set-piece to level for the Euro 2016 winners and inflict more pain on Spain in a chaotic week for the 2010 world champions.