(IranSportsPress – SB Nation) Iran stole a game off Morocco when Morocco’s Bouhaddouz scored a heartbreaking own goal in stoppage time. It was a stunning turn in a match that Morocco dominated large portions of, and gave Iran a much needed three points in Group B.
The first half was about as exciting a 0-0 half as you can have.
Morocco came out flying, working the ball through their very good midfield and putting instant pressure on Iran, who looked a bit overwhelmed with the pace. A whiff from Hakim Ziyech on a beautiful corner kick play was the only thing that kept Morocco off the score sheet in the first five minutes of the match.
Iran settled down and had a good run of play around the 20 minute mark, and had a few chances of their own … until Morocco got their second wind, and it was on. Ziyech, Amine Harit, Mbark Boussoufa, all of them just wanted to go at dudes, and it was awesome.
Then again, Iran had probably the best chance of the half, when Azmoun got in alone with the keeper, only to half Munir El Kajoui make two ridiculous saves to keep them out of the goal.
The second half both teams started playing a bit more conservatively, which was probably good for the mental health of their coaches but not as fun for all of us watching at home. Morocco seemed a little too comfortable pushing the ball out wide and then hitting in crosses, which Iran’s center backs dealt with well. Iran had a few chances in, but never had the quality necessary to finish.
Before the climactic goal, the closest anyone came to scoring was Ziyech, who had a ball headed down to him on the edge of the box and unleashed a left-footed volley that was saved brilliantly by Ali Beiranvand.
From there, it was mostly a half of injuries. Morocco’s Noureddine Amrabat went down with what appeared to be a concussion, and was forced to exit, and then Iran’s Alireza Jahanbakhsh had to be subbed out with a leg injury.
Right up until the end, when Iran put a hard ball in on a free kick and Bouhaddouz headed into his own net.