ST. PETERSBURG, Russia – Spain had to settle for a 3-3 draw on Tuesday in a friendly against Russia despite leading for most of the contest.
If Sergio Ramos was the star for La Roja, converting twice from the penalty spot, Russia got plenty of heroics from Fyodor Smolov, who scored a pair of beautiful goals for the hosts.
More was expected from Spain after they routed Costa Rica 5-0 last weekend, but a spirited Russian squad gave the more talented Spaniards all they could handle.
For Spain, it was only their second match ever on Russian soil, the first being a 2-1 defeat to the-then Soviet national side in 1971.
While snow fell hours before the match, the elements were not a factor thanks to the retractable roof at St. Petersburg Arena, where the temperature was a balmy 20 C (68 F).
Russia looked stronger in the opening minutes and Smolov narrowly missed the target with Spain goalkeeper David De Gea apparently beaten.
Soon enough, however, La Roja asserted themselves and an unmarked Jordi Alba made it 1-0 for the visitors in the 9th minute with a header from close range.
Spain took control, doubling the advantage in the 35th minute when Ramos converted from the spot after Russia’s Daler Kuzyayev was called for hand ball.
Six minutes later, Smolov scored the first of his brace, sending the Spanish team into a spell of disarray that extended into the second half.
Russia got back on terms with Aleksei Miranchuk’s goal in the 50th minute, only to shoot themselves in the foot again just three minutes later with an unnecessary foul on Ramos, who struck home from the spot to put Spain ahead 3-2.
A miscue by Marco Asensio in the 70th minute set up Smolov’s second goal.