Ronaldo has hat trick in Portugal’s draw

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after he scored his third goal with a free kick during the group B match between Portugal and Spain at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo completed a hat trick with a perfectly taken free kick in the 88th minute to give Portugal a 3-3 draw against Spain on Friday at the World Cup.

Ronaldo had twice given Portugal the lead with first-half goals, but Diego Costa equalized for Spain with a goal in each half. Nacho Fernandez then put the 2010 champions ahead with a one-timer from outside the area in the Group B match.

Spain looked to have successfully overcome its dramatic coaching change one the eve of the tournament but Ronaldo curled a late shot over the wall to force the draw.

Ronaldo’s opening goal from the penalty spot allowed him to become the fourth player to score in four World Cups, joining Pele, Miroslav Klose and Uwe Seeler. Ronaldo also became the first Portuguese player to appear in four World Cups.

His second goal came after a blunder by Spain goalkeeper David de Gea, who let the ball bounce off his hands and into the net.

Spain badly needed a winning start after the federation fired coach Julen Lopetegui two days before its tournament debut for accepting a job with Real Madrid without letting it know in advance. Sporting director Fernando Hierro, a former player, was picked as Lopetegui’s replacement and was on the bench despite no significant previous coaching experience.

It was an exciting start to one of the group-stage’s most anticipated matches and it didn’t take long before Ronaldo and Portugal struck first.

Ronaldo made a nice stepover move to get past Fernandez, his Real Madrid teammate, and was fouled at the edge of the area. He then calmly sent his shot to the right corner as De Gea went the other way.

During the celebration, Ronaldo rubbed his chin in an apparent reaction to Adidas’ “GOAT” promotion with Lionel Messi. GOAT is the acronym for âgreatest of all timeã and Adidas is running an advertisement featuring Messi with a real goat.

As Ronaldo returned to midfield for the restart, he and Fernandez appeared to exchange words and the Portuguese star smiled.

Portugal threatened on counterattacks as Spain struggled to get near Rui Patricio’s goal, but a great long pass by Sergio Busquets allowed Costa to even the match. The striker beat defender Pepe to the ball and used several neat moves to clear defenders before firing a low shot into the corner from inside the area.

Portugal loudly complained for a foul by Costa on Pepe, and replays showed there was contact by the Spaniard’s arm with Pepe’s body, but referee Gianluca Rocchi allowed the play to continue. Portugal wanted the play to be reviewed, and Rocchi at one point put his hand to his ear, apparently indicating that the assistant referees didn’t see a clear error.

URUGUAY 1, EGYPT 0

YEKATERINBURG, Russia (AP) — Jose Gimenez came to Uruguay’s rescue by scoring the lone goal in a victory over Egypt in Group A of the World Cup.

The Uruguay defender jumped in the area and headed home a free kick late in the 89th minute.

Russia leads Group A on goal difference after beating Saudi Arabia 5-0 on Thursday in the tournament’s opening match. Uruguay is now second, also with three points.

Egypt forward Mohamed Salah was on the bench for his country’s first World Cup match since 1990 after injuring a shoulder while playing for Liverpool in last month’s Champions League final. Salah was the Premier League’s player of the season after scoring a league-leading 32 goals, with 44 in all competitions.

At the other end, Uruguay strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani missed their chances. Suarez failed to beat Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shennawy in two one-on-one situations and Cavani hit the post from a free kick two minutes from the end.

Egypt has yet to win a World Cup game while Uruguay won its opening match at the tournament for the first time since 1970.

Iran 1, MOROCCO 0

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Aziz Bouhaddouz headed a free kick into his own net in the fifth minute of injury time to gift Iran a victory over Morocco.

Only on the field as a 77th-minute substitute, the Morocco striker dived to reach a curling cross from the left but headed the ball past goalkeeper Monir El Kajoui.

There was an explosion of joy among the Iran squad, with coaching staff and substitutes sprinting onto the field and jumping for joy.

It was Iran’s second win in 13 matches at the World Cup, and Asia’s first since the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

With Spain and Portugal the other teams in Group B, Friday’s match in St. Petersburg was regarded as a must-win game for the two outsiders.

COMMENTS