Diego Costa's brace earns a 9 in our player ratings as Spain held in thrilling 3-3 draw with Portugal

Andy West 16/06/2018
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Costa's brace was very nearly a winning one.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning 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.

STARTING XI

David De Gea 4 – Made a horrible error for Ronaldo’s second goal – his second such mistake in a fortnight. Also dithered under a long ball late on.

Nacho 6 – Conceded the early penalty and looked jittery early on but made amends with a stunning strike for the winner.

Gerard Pique 7 – Almost faultless until the last moments, when he conceded a foolish foul to give Cristiano Ronaldo his chance to level.

Sergio Ramos 7 – An excellent game at the back from the Spain skipper, who showed focus and concentration to steady his team’s defence.

Jordi Alba 7 – Full of running down the left, showing plenty of attacking endeavour and defensive commitment, including a goal-saving tackle.

Koke 7 – Spain’s less flamboyant player on the ball but he led his team’s pressing to allow them to dominate the midfield.

Sergio Busquets 6 – Sometimes uncomfortable against Portugal’s counters but made a good headed assist for Costa’s second goal and passed well.

Andres Iniesta 6 – Dragged a low shot wide and showed some moments of class but faded rapidly and was replaced with 20 minutes remaining.

David Silva 7 – Fired a volley over the top and had a shot deflected wide in the first half. Full of subtle touches and clever movement.

Isco 8 – Hit the post with a brilliant first-half volley which summed up a sumptuous display, showcasing his creative abilities.

Diego Costa 9 – Scored a brilliant goal in the first half, a poacher’s strike in the second and led the line superbly throughout. Textbook display.

SUBSTITUTES

Thiago 7 – Replaced Iniesta and helped Spain grab control of the contest with excellent controlled passing.

Iago Aspas 6 – Came on for the last 15 minutes and had half a chance which he wasted with a soft shot.

Lucas Vazquez 5 – Entered for the final stages with little impact.

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Cristiano Ronaldo earns a 9 in our player ratings after his stunning hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain

Andy West 16/06/2018
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Cristiano Ronaldo starred, scoring a hat-trick for Portugal.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning 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.

Here’s how Portugal’s players rated on the night.

STARTING XI

Rui Patricio 6 – Didn’t have any chance with any of Spain’s three goals, and did what he had to.

Cedric Soares 5 – Struggled against Spain’s incisive attacking play down the left as Isco, Iniesta and Alba weaved patterns.

Pepe 5 – Was shoved off the ball by Costa – perhaps illegally – for Spain’s first goal and is starting to look his age.

Jose Fonte 6 – Also struggled to contain the power of Costa, but made a couple of important clearances under pressure.

Raphael Guerreiro 7 – Had more touches of the ball than any other Portugal player and got forward regularly in a progressive performance.

Bernardo Silva 4 – Disappointing night for the Manchester City man, who made very little contribution in attack and struggled defensively.

Joao Moutinho 5 – Found himself overrun and chasing shadows for much of the night, unable to establish a passing rhythm.

William Carvalho 6 – Worked hard to close down Spain’s possession in the centre of the pitch, covering plenty of ground.

Bruno Fernandes 4 – Hesitated to lose a shooting chance, booked and made little other impact before being replaced midway through the second half.

Goncalo Guedes 5 – Played up front alongside Ronaldo but made nowhere near as much an impression, with just one shot blocked.

Cristiano Ronaldo 9 – Won and scored the early penalty, netted a fortunate second and blasted a brilliant free-kick to steal a draw.

SUBSTITUTES

Joao Mario 5 – Played down the left for the final quarter but couldn’t get too involved.

Ricardo Quaresma 6 – Introduced on the right wing for the latter stages and put some dangerous deliveries in the middle.

Andre Silva 5 – Came on up front for the last few minutes but barely had a touch.

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Cristiano Ronaldo is the Hero of the Day after his hat-trick in Portugal's 3-3 draw with Spain

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A 3-3 draw between Portugal and Spain in Group B was easily the blockbuster fixture on Friday and Cristiano Ronaldo was the undisputed star of the show.

The Real Madrid man opened the scoring from the spot in the fourth minute before giving Portugal the lead again just before half-time after Diego Costa’s 24th-minute equaliser.

The Atletico Madrid striker equalised again in the second half before Nacho’s strike from range handed Spain the lead only for Ronaldo to rescue Portugal with a sublime free-kick two minutes from time.

KEY STATS

30-SECOND REPORT

Ronaldo was ably supported up front by Goncalo Guedes in a two-pronged attack. The Valencia youngster was the more mobile of the two forwards while his skipper played off his runs well. Efficiency was a major feature of Ronaldo’s performance as he retained a 94.3 per-cent passing accuracy.

He won and converted his penalty for the opener excellently before benefiting from David de Gea’s mistake for his second. His hat-trick goal was a thing of beauty as it defied the laws of physics and left the Manchester United keeper rooted to the spot.

GOT RIGHT

Sharpness

Every aspect of Ronaldo’s performance was acutely designed to be direct and attack Spain in short bursts. He was single-minded when he ran at Nacho and won the penalty with just the one step-over to evade the defender.

The conversion was made with the minimum of fuss and he took his second with a quick snapshot, possibly catching De Gea off guard. His one-touch play and stylish flick-ons were indicative of his sharpness on the night and played perfectly into Portugal’s counter-attacking strategy.

Composure

Cometh the hour, cometh the man. And Cristiano Ronaldo is most certainly the man. The free-kick will live long in the memory and ranks among his very best. However, it’s the timing and significance of the strike that is truly marvellous.

Few players can rise to the occasion and deliver on such a consistent basis. He showed nerves of steel when he confidently tucked away his penalty to get the ball rolling despite De Gea’s futile attempts to rattle him.

SPORT360 VERDICT

As if Nacho’s goal wasn’t sensational enough, Ronaldo stepped up and upstaged him in phenomenal fashion. A hat-trick in Portugal’s opening World Cup match, against one of the standout favourites in the tournament no less was beyond expectations, even for him.

From start to finish, he was his side’s main man and fittingly scored a dramatic late equaliser to salvage a 3-3 draw in Group B’s crunch game. He’s already laid down a marker in the tournament and helped Portugal make a statement.

RATING – 10/10

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