For the second time in a row on Friday, a World Cup group game was settled by a late winner from a set piece.
Following Uruguay’s last-gasp winner against Egypt in the first match, Iran left it even later snatch the three points from under the noses of Morocco in Saint Petersburg.
Just to add to the cruelty, the goal came from a Moroccan head. Fiv minutes into stoppage time, Iran sent a free kick into the box in the desperate hope of one of their players getting a head to it. That didn’t happen, but substitute Aziz Bouhaddouz headed towards his own goal, diverting the ball into the net and sending the Iranian contingent into pandemonium.
The St. Pauli forward, introduced fifteen minutes earlier, was virtually inconsolable afterwards as the own goal put a serious dent in Morocco’s hopes of progressing to the last 16.
In truth, it was a poor quality game but it still always looked as though Morocco would be the more likely winners. However, the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Younes Belhanda didn’t perform at the standard they are capable of, and that has come back to haunt them.
The African side now have a mountain to climb to get out of this group with Portugal and Spain still to come, but Iran will have gained some confidence from what was only their second ever win at a World Cup finals.