Published: Sun, June 17, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Iran pip Morocco 1-0 in Group B match

Iran pip Morocco 1-0 in Group B match

Earlier, the constant din that accompanied the 2010 World Cup in South Africa returned for football's showpiece event eight years on as Morocco and Iran clashed to the noise of screeching vuvuzelas.

"No boots, no problems", said commentator Sam Matterface when summing up Iran's 1-0 win, referring to the fact the victors had not been able to receive a delivery of Nike boots, due to USA sanctions.

And with the match being played in a stadium nicknamed "The Spaceship" it was somewhat apt that qualified rocket scientist - Iain Dowie - was also in the commentary box said Matterface. It was good to hear that one of their players had appealed for women to attend matches back home, as his mum and sisters hadn't been able to see him play.

Indeed, Iran had the best chance of the first half when Azmoun was put clean through, with only Morocco keeper Munir Mohamedi to beat.

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Iran pulled off one of the first shocking victories of the World Cup on Friday thanks to a disastrous header in stoppage time.

The sides went in at half-time on equal footing, a score that was a fair representation of a half of football that was fairly end-to-end.

The pressure on Iran was nearly relentless, with Belhanda and captain Medhi Benatia squandering close-range chances in a penalty box scramble before Iran finally countered after 20 minutes, only for Karim Ansarifard to scuff his shot when clean through on goal. And soon the stadium echoed with cheers for Iran, while the striker sat with his head down.

"I think if I would have come to this press conference with a draw I would also have been disappointed given how the game played out".

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Despite their 81 percent pass completion and 63 percent ball control in the first half, Morocco were unable to break the deadlock.

The Atlas Lions wasted numerous chances during the first half and were denied late on when Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand produced a fine save from Hakim Ziyech.

"The players for Morocco knew we could win the game and that changed everything in the last minutes". The camera then cut to Renard who was shaking the hand of Queiroz.

Considering Spain and Portugal are the other teams in Group B, the match in St. Petersburg was regarded as a must-win game for the two outsiders. The 1-0 win was the first World Cup victory for Iran since its 2-1 win over the United States in 1998.

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