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Iran steals late winner when Morocco scores devastating own goal

Iran needed the fifth minute of extra time to win their first 2018 World Cup game.

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Iran v Uzbekistan - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Amin M. Jamali/Getty Images

Full Time, Iran 1 - Morocco 0


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.

Starting Lineups


Morocco and Iran are set to compete in their opening game of the 2018 World Cup on Friday. The game kicks off at 11 a.m. ET from the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and you can watch it on FOX or Telemundo. You can also stream online in English through FOX here or in Spanish through Telemundo here.

In this matchup manager Hervé Renard will look to forward Hakim Ziyech as a key component for Morocco’s success against Iran on Friday and continuing through the group stage. Iran will look to forwards Reza Ghoochannejhad and Sardar Azmoun to have a chance at success.

The other two teams in Group B, Spain and Portugal, play later in the day. They’re heavily favored to advance to the knockout stage, so both Morocco and Iran will feel like they need three points from this match to have a good chance to beat one of those two sides to a spot in the Round of 16.

Morocco vs. Iran time, TV channel and streaming info

Time: 11 a.m. ET

Location: Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia

TV: FOX (English), Telemundo (Spanish)

Streaming: Available for free with TV provider through FOX Sports Go (English) or Telemundo Deportes en vivo (Spanish). Also available on subscriptions services like Fubo and Hulu.

Odds: Morocco -0.25 (full odds at OddsShark)

Morocco key player: Hakim Ziyech

The Ajax superstar right winger is unlikely to be an Ajax player much longer. Expect him to make a move to a big league this summer — and expect the transfer fee to go up if Ziyech stars at this World Cup. He has incredible dribbling skills, and he’s one of the few players in the world that managers want taking 30-yard shots.

Iran key player: Sardar Azmoun

Defensive organization will be Iran’s priority, which means they don’t always get a lot of players forward in support of their forwards. That leaves Azmoun isolated on his own pretty often, but he’s so hard-working that he stays involved in the game no matter what.

Morocco vs. Iran news to read before kickoff

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