Morocco own goal hands Iran shock win


Morocco's Aziz Bouhaddouz is consoled by teammates after he scored an own goal against Iran at the World Cup.

This is the first World Cup for Morocco since 1998 in France and their fifth overall.

Tehran: Authorities in Tehran cancelled plans to allow families to watch Iran's World Cup football opener against Morocco on Friday in the stadium and public parks of the Islamic republic's capital.

The two-foot long tube with a plastic horn at the end became a global phenomenon in 2010 and divided opinion as the instrument, widely used at games in Africa, wasn't popular with television viewers despite adding to the atmosphere.

Play almost ground to a halt in the final 15 minutes amid extended stoppages for injuries to Morocco's Amrabat and Omid Ebrahimi and Alireza Jahanbakhsh of Iran, and the match seemed headed to a draw until Bouhhadouz's miscue.

Morocco and Iran boast strong defensive records heading into their opening game at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg.

No real goalscoring opportunities arrived until late in the game as Morocco's main playmaker Ziyech finally got a shot on goal but Beiranvand denied him with a smart save to his left.

Iran were missing the calming influence of suspended holding midfielder Saeid Ezatolahi as Morocco over-ran them in the centre of the park with the clever Mbark Boussoufa directing play as the African side frequently attacked in numbers.

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Iran's first ever World Cup win in 20 years delighted the players and the coaching staff as they celebrated jubilantly with their fans after the final whistle.

Morocco will now need a positive result when they play Portugal on Wednesday, 20 June (13:00 BST), before Iran play Spain at 19:00 BST on the same day.

"Superman is only in the cartoons", Queiroz said.

He'll relish the chance to come up against the country of his birth in Iran's final group game, but this opening match may present something of a problem for Iran as they will have to go out and attack. Made famous as the first African team to reach the knockout stages in 1986, they beat Portugal to secure progress on that occasion, so they'll be hoping it's a good omen to be paired with them again.

Iran might have some staying power at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The strongest backline in Asia was only breached by Syria after Iran's place was secured in Russian Federation.

Iran have played in two World Cups since Morocco last featured without winning a game.

The second half continued in same fashion as the first, although Iran looked more threatening.

After it was initially unfurled, during the first half of the game, there was a brief commotion as it was put away.