Iran stun Morocco with stoppage-time own goal

Iran stun Morocco with stoppage-time own goal

Despite being banned by Federation Internationale de Football Association ahead of the World Cup in Brazil four years ago, it appears as though the plastic horn was granted a reprieve ahead of Russia 2018, its droning hum providing the soundtrack to Friday's Group B opener between Morocco and Iran - and the reaction online has been predictably negative.

Iran are set to be without the suspended Saeid Ezatolahi, while Mehdi Taremi and Askhan Dejagah are both doubtful with knocks.

They enjoyed more possession and began in particularly aggressive fashion, taking the game to their opponents and overloading their right flank as they targeted Hajsafi.

Group B gets underway on Friday with a high-stakes game for Morocco and Iran, both very much the group underdogs.

"Our plan from the first minute was to create a mental collapse in the Moroccan players", Queiroz said, "creating frustration and blocking all the playmakers who can create something".

Despite the 11 a.m. ET kick off, Iranian supporters gathered in bars, restaurants and homes around the follow the action.

Morocco's impeccable record in qualifiers of not conceding a single goal will play a massive role in Renard and his team selections.

Queiroz has relied on a four-man defence for most of the time and is likely to stick with his usual formation.

Earlier this week, Morocco failed in their attempt to win the right to host the 2026 World Cup, losing out to a "United" bid from Canada, the United States and Mexico. To start with, Benatia will be hoping to start with a win over Iran and kickstart Morocco's campaign in Russian Federation.

They've conceded just three goals in those five games, so Iran will find them a tough nut to crack.

Iran might have some staying power at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

"After so many years in this business, the first game of a World Cup is always hard and tough and this was no different - but it was also attractive", Iran coach Queiroz said of the country's second-ever World Cup win. Using the width strongly, Morocco moved forward with Ayoub El Kaabi, Amine Harit and Hakim Ziyach combining well.

If one team can nick the win, it might be Morocco.

However, Iran snatched the victory in stoppage time with Aziz Bouhaddouz netting an own goal following a teasing cross at the near post. A smooth talker? His team certainly looked the smoother of the two in the first half, despite being "the great under-achievers in African football" according to Matterface.

"We made mistakes in the build-up to the goal against a team that was on the back foot for most of the match and that's one of the factors that led to this crucifixion", he said.

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