Russia came back from behind twice to draw 3-3 with Spain on Tuesday, in a surprisingly end-to-end World Cup rehearsal.
Another Jordi Alba goal and a Sergio Ramos penalty gave Spain a 2-0 lead, but Fedor Smolov's brace, sandwhiched by an Aleksey Miranchuk effort, stunned La Roja, whose run of five clean sheets came to an end.
Suso made his Spain debut on the right of their attacking trident after he emerged as one of Serie A’s top talents, thanks to his performances for Milan over the past year.
Elsewhere for Julen Lopetegui’s side, David de Gea was back in goal and Nacho Fernandez replaced Alvaro Odriozola at right-back, while Rodrigo Moreno and Marco Asensio joined the former Liverpool attacker up top.
This was Spain’s first-ever match in Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, with the two teams’ last meeting – a 3-0 win for La Roja – coming in the Euro 2008 semi-finals.
Spain picked up from where they left off in their 5-0 thrashing of Costa Rica last Friday as it took just nine minutes for Marco Asensio to pick out Alba with an inch-perfect cross at the near post and the left-back score his second goal in as many games.
Daler Kuzyaev’s arm then blocked Rodrigo’s knockdown in the Russian area, allowing Sergio Ramos to nestle the resulting spot-kick into the bottom right of Andrey Lunev’s net.
Moments after Alba came across out of nowhere to block a certain goal for the hosts, however, Smolov pulled off a lovely feint, before angling a strike past De Gea, five minutes before the break.
Spain replaced their entire midfield in the second half, resulting in not only their grip on the game vanishing but also Smolov getting in behind and cutting back for Miranchuk, who beat De Gea at his near post for 2-2.
Nonetheless, the visitors won their second penalty when Ramos was brought down while a free kick was being sent into Russia’s box. The defender again beat Lunev from 12 yards out, this time driving his spot-kick to the goalkeeper’s left.
Yet the World Cup hosts sliced their opponents open with a quick burst of pace from Aleksandr Kokorin, whose touch teed up Smolov for his second of the game and a deserved second equaliser for his side.
Spain’s next game is on March 23, when they travel to Dusseldorf to face reigning world champions Germany.
Russia 3-3 Spain
Smolov 41, 70, Miranchuk 51, (R) Alba 9, Ramos pen 35, 53 (S)
Russia: Lunev; Zhirkov (Kombarov 82), Vasin, Dzhikiya, Kudryashov (Raush 75), Smolnikov (Ignatyev 87); Glushakov, Kuzyaev (Erokhin 62), Dzagoev (Kokorin 62), Aleksey Miranchuk (Anton Miranchuk 67); Smolov
Spain: De Gea; Nacho, Pique, Ramos (Vitolo 58), Alba (Moreno 46); Thiago (Saul 60), Busquets (Silva 58), Iniesta (Illarramendi 46); Suso (Callejon 46), Rodrigo, Asensio
Referee: Rocchi (ITA)
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