BASEL, SWITZERLAND (AP) – Sergio Ramos (pic below) had two penalty kicks saved in his European record 177th game for Spain before a late goal by Gerard Moreno earned a 1-1 draw with Switzerland in the Nations League on Saturday.
Both Ramos spot kicks in the 57th and 80th minutes were saved by Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer diving to his right. The second was a softly struck chip shot that stayed low.
“Ramos hadn’t missed in 25 tries,” Spain coach Luis Enrique said of his captain’s penalties. “Football has these moments. If there had been a third penalty, he would have taken it as well. And a fourth, and a fifth.”
Ramos earned the first penalty by heading the ball against a defender’s arm, and Swiss defender Nico Elvedi was sent off for fouling Álvaro Morata to concede the second.
Switzerland was hanging on with 10 men to protect the lead earned in the 26th by Remo Freuler’s smart half-volley into the top corner.
The leveller in the 89th came from substitute Moreno’s shot after racing on to a cross from Sergio Reguilon. The point dropped Spain into second place in top-tier Group 4, one point behind Germany which beat Ukraine 3-1. Spain hosts Germany tomorrow in Seville.
Switzerland stays in last place and can avoid relegation to the Nations League second tier by beating Ukraine on Tuesday.
Ramos had an eventful 177th appearance to set a European record in men’s football, beating Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon’s mark.
The Spain captain made a key goal-line clearance early in the second half, rescuing goalkeeper Unai Simón who missed the ball charging 10 metres out of his penalty box.
Two minutes later, Ramos earned the spot kick by heading the ball against the arm of Ricardo Rodriguez jumping in front of him.
The Real Madrid player was perhaps unfortunate that Sommer plays for Borussia Moenchengladbach and the teams met in the Champions League last month.
“That means I’d already watched a little bit how Ramos shoots,” Sommer told Swiss broadcaster RTS. “It’s difficult because he always changes. One time to the right, to the left, or he does a chip.”
Ramos was helpless to stop Switzerland taking the lead when forward Breel Embolo burst down the right flank, collecting a pass from Edimilson Fernandes.
Embolo’s pass found midfielder Freuler for a half-volley shot that rose and floated into the far top corner of the net.
Fernandes, a midfielder, was used as a right back after teammate Silvan Widmer tested positive for COVID-19. The Swiss Football Association said all of the squad had negative results in rapid tests on Saturday afternoon.