By Izuchukwu Okosi

 

Morocco gave away a late goal against Iran (1-0) at the St. Petersburg Stadium in the first Group B game of the 2018 World Cup to begin their campaign on a wrong foot.

Aziz Bouhaddouz conceded an unfortunate own goal to condemn Morocco to a 1-0 defeat to Iran in the first Group B game of the 2018 World Cup Friday evening.

The Atlas Lions  who had been unbeaten in 18 matches, both competitive and friendlies, thus became the second African nation to lose on the second day  of the World Cup with Egypt losing earlier in the day in similar fashion to Uruguay in Group A, towards the end of their game.

The Moroccans assured in possession had a flurry of chances in the 18th minute but Mehdi Benatia’s close shot was eventually cleared by the Iranians.

Iran never quite threatened until the 43rd minute from a counter attack thwarted by doubles saves of Morocco goalkeeper Monir El Kajoui.

Morocco’s impressive Hakim Ziyachi forced a fine save from a rasping shot from Iran keeper, Ali Beivanhard with 12 minutes left on the clock.

As the entertaining match reached full time, the Iranians who thus achieved only their second win in the World Cup tournament with the unlikely victory countered more despite not having a shot on target in the early stages.