Morocco 0-1 Iran: Late own goal earns Iranians vital three points in Group B

An Aziz Bouhaddouz own goal in the 95th minute gifted Carlos Queiroz’s side an unexpected victory in their opener at the St Petersburg Arena.

Iran
1 0
Morocco
Iran: Beiranvand; Rezaeian, Pouraliganji, Cheshmi, Hajsafi; Ebrahimi (Hosseini, min. 80), Shojiaie (Taremi, min. 68), Amiri; Jahanbakhsh (Goddos, min. 85), Azmoun, Ansarifard.
Morocco: Munir; N. Amrabat (S. Amrabat, min. 76), Benatia, Saiss, Hakimi; El Ahmadi, Boussoufa; Ziyech, Belhanda, Harit (Da Costa, min. 82); El Kaabi (Bouhaddouz, min.77).
SCORE: 1-0. Bouhaddouz O.G, min. 90+5.
REFEREE: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)

Iran picked up their first World Cup victory since 1998 as Aziz Bouhaddouz of Morocco inadvertently turned the ball into his own net in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

Boudaddouz, who came on as a substitute for Morocco, dived low to clear an Iranian free kick out for a corner, however accidentally sliced the ball into his own goal with his head. 

A step forward before the free-kick was taken ultimately cost Boudaddouz, who plays for FC St. Pauli in Germany. After this, the striker could not adjust his feet and was stretching for the ball, eventually giving his goalkeeper little chance as he was off balance when trying to clear the ball.

Beiranvand keeps Morocco at bay

Like the earlier game betweeen Egypt and Uruguay, it wasn’t one for the football purists. Despite a fast start for Hervé Renard’s Morocco, the African side failed to capitalise on their early dominance and couldn’t find a breakthrough. 

Despite the early superiority from Morocco, it was Iran who had the best chance of the first half, when striker Sardar Azmoun went through on goal, only to be denied by the Morocco goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi

As the game ticked on, it looked like an opening goal was never going to come. The tempo decreased as the players started to tire and the atmosphere in a 62,000 strong St Petersburg stadium dropped.

The only real chance of the second half fell in the direction of Morocco when Hakim Ziyech saw his measured effort from distance pushed around the post by the goalkeeper, Alireza Beiranvand

The Iranian goalkeeper was the star of the show as his saves in both halves denied Morocco getting a win in a game where Renard’s side were widely tipped to take maximum points.

 

 

Iran can take confidence into tough tests to come

Carlos Queiroz’s Iran side grew in confidence as the game advanced, and looked the more likely to score towards the end, although little chances fell the way of either side. 

The win for Iran comes as only their second in World Cup history, following a 2-1 win over the United States in 1998 in France. 

Back home, manager Carlos Quieroz will be lauded as a national hero, gifting Iran with three precious points, meaning they momentarily top group B. 

The ex-Manchester United assistant manager will head into the remaining group games quietly confident. Although the group is top-heavy including Iberian giants Spain and Portugal, a draw against either could see Iran with a good chance of progressing. 

Iran’s next game sees them face up with Spain on Wednesday at the Kazan Arena. Quieroz and his players will watch the other Group B game tonight paying eager attention, knowing that if either of Spain or Portugal drop points, Iran could be in with a realistic chance of progressing, which would be one of the upsets of World Cup history.