Iranian football fans have every reason to thank their stars as Morocco substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz scored an own goal in injury time to hand Iran their first win in a World Cup match in 20 years.
Bouhaddouz mistakenly deposited the ball inside his own net with a diving header at the near post in the 95th minute (5 minutes into the injury time) as Morocco defended a left-wing free-kick.
The result was harsh on the African side, who wasted numerous chances in the first half and were denied several scoring chances including a late attempt that Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand saved from Hakim Ziyech.
Morocco started as the stronger side, but the best chance the side could muster for all their dominance was a goal-mouth scramble when Younes Belhanda saw a shot blocked before Medhi Benatia’s follow-up was kept out by goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand.
Iran grew in confidence toward the end of the half and should have been in front when Vahid Amiri sent Sardar Azmoun through for a goal, but the striker got the ball stuck in his feet and by the time he got a shot off, goalkeeper Munir had come off his line to make the save.
The Asian side at the end sealed the victory to make it their second win in World Cup history after a 2-1 win over the United States at France 1998.
Morocco became the second African side to concede a late winning goal in the World Cup on Friday, after Egypt lost 0-1 to Uruguay in Group A, thanks to a last-minute header from Jose Gimenez.
Both goals against Egypt and Morocco came from almost the same point and time. (NAN)