World Cup 2018: Cristiano Ronaldo slams hat-trick, Portugal draw 3-3 with Spain

first_imgCristiano Ronaldo scored a sensational hat-trick to help Portugal secure a thrilling draw against Spain in Sochi in their 2018 World Cup opener on Friday.Ronaldo’s 87th minute strike from a free-kick brought Portugal level with Spain at 3-3 and that is how the match ended after four minutes were added on in the Group B blockbuster.In by far the best game of the tournament so far, Spain forward Diego Costa notched a double before Nacho put them 3-2 ahead with a brilliant third only for Ronaldo to snatch a point in the dying minutes.This was his career’s 51st hat-trick and also the the 51st overall in World Cup finals.You’ll never guess who was @Budweiser #ManoftheMatch…Congrats, @Cristiano! pic.twitter.com/ARVnftAvrDFIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 15, 2018Spain were still reeling from the remarkable decision to fire coach Julen Lopetegui on Wednesday, after the federation said he had negotiated a contract to take over at Real Madrid without their knowledge and replaced him with Fernando Hierro.(HIGHLIGHTS)The match got off to an explosive start when Ronaldo beat Nacho on the left of the box with a stepover, was tripped and converted the penalty himself in emphatic style after four minutes.Costa equalised in the 24th as he latched onto a long ball forward by Sergio Busquets, bundled off a challenge from Pepe, slipped through two defenders and slotted his shot past Rui Patricio.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGEThe goal was confirmed after a review by the video assistant referee (VAR), being used at the World Cup for the first time, for a possible foul on Pepe.advertisementSpain appeared to be on top as Isco rifled a shot against the bar, only for Ronaldo to strike again one minute before halftime with a low shot which hit goalkeeper David De Gea’s hand and slipped agonisingly into the net.Costa levelled from close range 10 minutes after the break and Spain went ahead for the first time with a remarkable strike from Nacho, who met the ball on the volley at an awkward height and sent an inswinging shot in off the post.Incredibly, there was more drama to come as Portugal won a free kick about 20 metres out in the 88th minute.Ronaldo rolled up his shorts, stepped forward and curled the ball around the wall into the top corner to set off delirious celebrations amongst the Portugal players and fansIRAN STUN MOROCCO WITH STOPPAGE-TIME OWN GOALThat was FUN. #PORESP pic.twitter.com/yhmrCcv7KuFIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) June 15, 2018A heartbreaking stoppage-time own goal from substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz gave Iran a dramatic 1-0 win over Morocco in their World Cup Group B opener on Friday.In a group where Spain and Portugal are strong favourites to qualify for the knockout stage, the result gives Iran an outside chance of an upset but was a bitter blow for an enterprising Moroccan side.They top the group for the time being as Portugal and Spain played out a draw.URUGUAY EARN HARD FOUGHT VICTORYThe 89th minute header from Jose Gimenez helped Uruguay beat Egypt a 1-0 in their World Cup opener on Friday.Gimenez rose perfectly to meet a Carlos Sanchez free kick and score the goal that broke a 48-year Uruguayan ‘curse’ of failing to win in the opening game of the World Cup finals.(With inputs from Reuters)last_img