An individual brilliance from Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo saw the 2016 European Champions hold out for a much deserved 3-3 draw against Spain in their Group B World Cup encounter in Sochi on Friday night.
Fernando Santos’ charges took the lead as early as the fourth minute when Ronaldo was brought down in the box by his Real Madrid teammate José Nacho. The Madrid talisman made no mistake from the spot as he send David De Gea the wrong way to put his side 1-0 up.
The 2010 World Cup champions hit back through Diego Costa but Ronaldo restored his side’s lead with a hard left footed low-shot which forced De Gea into an error, as the ball slipped through his fingers and found its way into the back of the net.
La Furia Roja came out guns blazing in the second stanza and drew matters level shortly through Costa once again before Nacho put Spain into the lead for the first time in the match with a long range stunner making it 3-2.
With less than four minutes remaining on the clock it looked as though newly appointed coach Fernando Hierro would claim his first win at the helm but Ronaldo had other ideas once again.
The Ballon D’or winner was brought down on the edge of the box by Gerard Pique. He stepped up and fired a sublime free-kick past a hapless De Gea to see his side claim a well deserved point.
It was Ronaldo’s 51st career hat-trick which also saw him become one of just four men to score at four different World Cups.