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Morocco vs Iran
2018 FIFA World Cup, Group B
|St Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia|
Iran have stolen a vital last second win, and only their second win in World Cup history, after a 95th minute own goal by Morocco gave the Asian nation an amazing first up victory.
The St Petersburg Stadium was alight in the first half, as a rampant Morocco attacked at will, but were unable to breakdown a defence that had not conceded a world cup qualification goal in over ten matches. Once the Morocco pressure was relieved, Iran had their own chances in the first half, and a pulsating first half finished nil-all, but a high expectation of more.
That expectation was never met, and while Morocco had the lions’ share of possession (over 60%), they could not make it work in their favour, the best chance of the half falling to Hakim Ziyach, who rocketed a shot from outside the area, demanding a great save from the Iranian keeper.
Morocco would regret their missed chances as unlucky defender Aziz Bouhaddouz headed into his own net, to give Iran the win.
We come to the second game day of the 2018 World Cup, with the African nation of Morocco facing off against Group B rival Iran. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting at 1am AEST.
After a glittering opening to the Russian tournament and completion of the group A matches, we turn to group B, in this match up between the two teams expected to struggle against the might of Portugal and Spain.
Morocco find themselves in a slightly downward trend when it comes to their mood, having missed out with their bid to host the 2026 tournament to the joint North American bid. No doubt the players will easily put that disappointment behind them though, as this is a must-win game for both of these teams.
Morocco managed to qualify through their CAF group by knocking out giants Ivory Coast along the way. So Morocco will be no pushover in this group, and with Spain suffering a massive blow by losing their coach mere moments before the tournament, Morocco will like their chances of progressing. Which places even more importance on a first up win.
The Moroccans should have the firepower to trouble Iran as well. Expect to see Khalid Boutaib taking a few chances up front. The Turkish based marksman landed four goals during qualification, although he only managed 12 goals in the most recent Turkish Super Lig season for club side Yeni Malatyaspor.
Morocco, however, do not just score, they defend as well, conceding exactly zero goals during qualification. Impressive.
As for Iran, they are entering the World Cup as the weakest team in the group, but they themselves come into the tournament having gone undefeated in the second round of confederation qualification. Regardless of opponents, that is an astonishing feat.
The key for Iran? Well, much like their opponents, it was their defence. Iran managed to concede just the two goals in their last ten matches of qualification. Again, factoring in travel and team cohesion, that defence is also, along with Morocco, nothing to sniff at.
So in a match where these teams know how to defend, it will again be the classic case of the team that is efficient in front of goal that should get the points. Currently, Morocco look the more likely.
Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting at 1am AEST.