By Izuchukwu Okosi
Spain was held to a 2-2 by Morocco on Monday evening to top Group B of the World Cup.
The early stages of the game were marked by some flashpoints.
Morocco went in front through Khalib Boutaib who pounced on a sloppy defending by Sergio Ramos, the latter losing the ball in the 14th minute. Boutaib consequently squeezed the ball under the feet of goalkeeper David De Gea.
Isco equalised five minutes later after beautiful interchange of passes between the Spanish pass masters.
One of the talking points in the game is the four yellow cards for Morocco who felt a sense of injustice with some of the heightened by Gerard Pique’s handling of the ball near the penalty box three minutes into the second half.
Noureddine Amrabat hit a powerful shot that came off the bar with De Gea stranded with almost an hour played.
Second half substitute Youssef En Neysri headed the Africans ahead again nine minutes to full time from a corner.
Iago Aspas’ goal initially thought to be scored from an offside position in the 90th minute was later given after the VAR officials stated it was legitimate.
The game ended 2-2 and Morocco denied a historic win but they bow out with pride with some delightful football in their World Cup campaign.
Spain tops Group B and will face hosts Russia in the round of 16.
Portugal played out a 1-1 draw against Iran which meant Portugal qualified as runners up in the group behind Spain and billed to play Uruguay in the round of 16.
The European champions signalled their intent to put the game to bed with weaves of counters and shots from outside the penalty box led by Cristiano Ronaldo.
It was Ricardo Quarelsma that however got them ahead scoring a sensational long range goal struck with the outside of his right foot in the 45th minute. There was no chance for Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvard to catch the ball.
Ronaldo had a penalty saved by Beiranhard while Karim Ansarifad’s late penalty ultimately was not enough to carry them through.
There were emotional scenes on the field and the stands after Iran’s elimination was confirmed.