The Atlas Lions of Morocco have fallen to an injury-time defeat to Iran in Africa’s second match at the ongoing Russia 2018 World Cup.
The Moroccans — boasting stars Nordin Amrabat of Watford, Medhi Benatia of Juventus, Achraf Hakimi of Real Madrid, Younes Belhanda of Galatasaray and Hakim Ziyech of Ajax — were widely tipped to overrun the Iranians.
They did just that in terms of possession and chances created, but they were undone by their poor finishing and decision-making in the final third.
However, five minutes into stoppage time, Aziz Bouhaddouz nodded into his own net an effort that was Iran’s first, and only, at goal in the second half. With little or no time for recovery, it was the Iranians who celebrated at the blast of the final whistle despite giving Moroccan goalkeeper Munir nothing to think about throughout the duration of the match.
It was the first Iranian victory at the World Cup in 20 years. It was also the first World Cup win by an Asian country in eight years — since Japan beat Denmark at the 2010 World Cup.
Morocco’s defeat follows Egypt’s loss to Uruguay by the same 0-1 scoreline earlier in the day.
Like Egypt, Morocco now face the uphill task of avoiding defeat against Portugal on June 20, otherwise they become of the first teams to exit from the tournament.