Moscow [Russia] :– In yet another dramatic turn at the ongoing 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup, hosts Russia on Sunday defeated pre-tournament favourites Spain 4-3 via penalty shootouts after the high voltage round of 16 match ended 1-1 at full time at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Following Lionel Messi-led Argentina and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal heartbreaking departure yesterday, Spain also didn’t manage to hold on to their nerves in the first penalty shootout of the tournament.
Goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev proved out as Russia’s hero after he saved two penalties of Koke and Iago Aspas while Russian players easily managed to beat star goalkeeper David de Gea.
Sergei Ignashevich became the oldest scorer of an own goal
in World Cup history when the 38-year-old gave Spain an early lead in the 12th minute of the game.
But Russia soon got the equaliser in the 41st minute as Artem Dzyuba smashed home a penalty after his header was blocked by Gerard Pique’s arm in the box.
As Spain could not break the hosts down in extra-time, the match was later sent to shoot-out.
Akinfeev saved a terrible Koke penalty to put Russia in control and with David de Gea unable to stop any of the four kicks he faced, Aspas’ effort was brilliantly blocked by the Russian goalkeeper to spark chaotic celebrations.
With this win, Russia has now entered the quarter-final stage, and will face either Croatia or Denmark. (ANI)