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Iran made history as it beat Morocco 1-0 thanks to an own goal by the latter on Friday’s World Cup match at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg.
Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz scored the heartbreaking goal in the 95th minute that gave the Iranians their first win in this year’s World Cup. It also marked Iran’s first World Cup triumph since 1998.
A Game Morocco Should’ve Won
The game was clearly theirs for the taking as Morocco started the match by threading the defense of the Iranians. Its pressure-packed defense immediately resulted in Iran captain Masoud Shojaei being awarded a yellow card after fouling a Moroccan midfielder.
Morocco had several chances on making a goal as Younus Belhanda fired a shot from distance that was eventually blocked by Iranian goalkeeper Ali Reza Beiranvand. Mehdi Benatia tried to make up for Belhanda’s miss but Beiranvand saved his shot again. Ameen Harit also had another chance to put Morocco up on the board but his attempt went straight at the hands of the Iranian keeper.
Things got chippy as Karim Al Ahmadi received the book after clipping Sardar Azmoun late in the first half. Iran had a chance to take a momentous lead before the halftime break as Azmoun caught the ball and was all alone on a breakaway. His attempt on goal was denied by Moroccan goalkeeper Munir Mohamadi to keep the game at 0-0 heading into the break.
The second half was more of a back-and-forth sequence as both teams tried to find its maiden goal in the game. Morocco has almost created a separation when Hakim Ziyech unleashed a shot off a pass from Belhanda. Beiranvand ultimately blocked Ziyech’s shot on goal.
However, it proved to be the last good thing the Moroccans did as Bouhaddouz’s header that was intended to clear the ball found the back of Morocco’s net in the 95th minute to give Iran the victory. Despite the win, the Iranians failed to record a single shot on goal in the second half.
With the victory, the Iranians also became the first squad in more than five decades to convert a goal in a World Cup game without attempting a single shot in that half. The loss also marked Morocco’s first defeat since June 2017 in the Saint Petersburg Stadium. Prior to the gut-wrenching defeat, the Moroccans were riding an 18-game winning streak.
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