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Iran breaks Morocco hearts with victory at the death

Iran 1 (Bouhaddouz OG, 90+2min)
Morocco 0

By Caleb Lawrence

The opening match for Group B saw Iran steal all three points against Morocco in the dying stages after an own goal from Aziz Bouhaddouz in St Petersburg.

The game was heading for a nil-all draw until the second minute of injury time, when an Iran free kick in a dangerous position was whipped in by Hajsafi and met by Moroccan substitute Bouhaddouz, and headed into his own net causing heart break for the nation of Morocco.

The opening stages of the first half saw Morocco come out the blocks quickly as they dominated Iran with 80 per cent of possession of the ball in the first 20 minutes with Iran looking in all sorts. Fortunately for Iran, Morocco were unable to capitalize on this dominance with a goal.

As the half went on, Iran found their feet within the game as they begun to test Morocco on the counter. On the stroke of half-time, Iran had arguably the best chance of the first half through Sardar Azmoun but Morocco’s goalkeeper Munir Mohamedi produced a double-save to send both teams level into the break.

In the second half, scoring opportunities were rare for both teams. Ultimately, Bouhaddouz’s late own goal would be the decisive moment in the game as Iran claimed a 1-0 victory over Morocco.

Iran unexpectedly leads Group B after Spain and Portugal played out a 3-3 draw. On match day two, Iran plays Spain and Morocco takes on Portugal.

Morocco: Munir (GK), N.Amrabat (76′), Benatia, Saiss, Hakimi, El Ahmadi, Boussoufa, Ziyech, Belhanda, Harit (82′), El Kaabi (77′)
Substitutes: S. Armabat (76′), Bouhaddouz (77′), Da Costa (82′)

Iran: Beiranvand (GK), Hajsafi, Cheshmi, Pouraliganji, Rezaeian, Ebrahimi (80′), Ansarifard, Amiri, Shojaei (67′), Jahanbakhsh (85′), Azmoun
Substitutes used: Taremi (67′), Hosseini (80′), Ghoddos (85′)

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