Iran might have some staying power at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Team Melli earned a shock win over Morocco on Friday in their World Cup Group B opener. The ill-tempered game looked set to end in a goalless draw, but Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz headed the ball into his own goal five minutes into second-half injury time. Iran now tops Group B thanks to its second-ever win in a World Cup game.
Morocco dominated possession through the game and created a number of scoring chances, although many of them finished with shots off target. Iran was content to defend deeply and launch sporadic counter-attacks.
Iran gladly was going to accept a draw as a just result in the 95th minute. But the drama peaked when Morocco fouled Iran in a dangerous part of the field, and Ehsan Hajsafi ominously curled the ball into the penalty area where it found Bouhaddouz.
Bouhaddouz, a second-half substitute, was inconsolable following his mistake.
Man of the match: Morocco’s Amine Harit, 20, impressed with his skills and helped his team control the flow of the game.
Next up: Morocco will face Portugal and Iran will play Spain on Wednesday in the teams’ second Group B game.