SOCHI, June 16 (IANS): Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Portugal held formidable Spain to an exciting 3-3 draw in a Group B match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup here.
Ronaldo showcased his big match temperament on Friday by scoring in the 4th, 44th and 88th minutes and almost single-handedly earning a point for Portugal.
Star striker Diego Costa (24th, 55th) and full back Nacho (56th) scored for Spain.
Ronaldo has now become the only player from Portugal to score at four World Cups.
This was the 51st hattrick in the World Cup history.
Spain suffered an early setback when Nacho fouled Ronaldo inside the penalty box.
The Real Madrid star stepped forward to convert the resultant penalty and give Portugal the lead.
Despite the setback, Spain gradually settled down and started to dominate the proceedings.
The superior talent in the Spanish ranks gradually started to make its presence felt.
Costa found the equaliser for Spain 20 minutes later.
The big centre forward used his physical strength to beat Pepe to a high ball and dribbling two defenders before bulging the net with a superb finish.
Ronaldo put Portugal back in the lead a minute before half-time when a mistake by Spain goalkeeper David de Gea handed him his second goal of the match.
Spain surged ahead immediately after the restart with back-to-back goals.
Costa levelled things up for a second time when he scored off a free kick.
Nacho produced an excellent finish from outside the box in the very next minute to put Spain in the lead.
Ronaldo however, earned a well-deserved point for Portugal right at the end with a curling, dipping free kick that de Gea had no chance of keeping out.