Ramos scores twice as Spain draws 3-3 with Russia
Russia's Fedor Smolov, right, struggles for the ball with Spain's Gerard Pique during the international friendly soccer match between Russia and Spain in St.Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
By James Ellingworth, Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) — Sergio Ramos scored twice from the penalty spot as Spain drew 3-3 with Russia in a friendly on Tuesday.
Grit and some fine individual skill from striker Fyodor Smolov brought Russia back from 2-0 down to earn a draw which will boost morale after a tough year for the 2018 World Cup hosts.
"It was a very tense match and at a certain point we relaxed and lost control of the ball," Spain coach Julen Loptegui said through a translator. "The Russian team got better in the course of the game and things started working out for them."
Spain finishes 2017 unbeaten, but looked uneasy in defense as its seven-game win streak ended in humid conditions under the roof at the St. Petersburg Stadium.
Loptegui added he was happy that Tuesday's game and Saturday's 5-0 win over Costa Rica had given him the chance "to see almost all of our players" as Spain looks to the World Cup.
Milan midfielder Suso made his debut against Russia, while fringe players like Valencia's Rodrigo and Real Sociedad's Asier Illaramendi also featured.
Jordi Alba gave the Spain the lead in the ninth minute with a header, just after Smolov had missed a good chance at the other end.
Ramos added some lunges to his penalty warmup in a successful bid to throw goalkeeper Andrei Lunyov for his 35th minute penalty, awarded after a hotly disputed handball call.
Russia made it 2-1 when Smolov beat Girard Pique and scored in the 41st, and the Russian equalized in the 51st with Alexei Miranchuk's effort on the rebound.
Spain responded almost immediately with another Ramos penalty after he was brought down by Georgy Dzhikiya. Smolov had the last word with a fierce shot from outside the penalty area in the 71st.
David de Gea leaped for a save in the 86th that denied Smolov a hat-trick and Russia a winning goal.
Russia midfielder Denis Glushakov played the final minute in goal after keeper Lunyov was hurt in a clash with Rodrigo. Lunyov suffered a gash to the head and was concussed.
The Russian team said he would spend the night in hospital, and quoted Lunyov saying: "Don't worry, I'm fine."