Unconvincing Portugal & Spain through to last 16

2018 FIFA World Cup


Portugal moved forward to the Round of 16 albeit after an unconvincing 1-1 draw against Iran while VAR rescued Spain for a 2-2 draw against Morocco in an intense Group B final day at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

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Late drama as Iran draw Portugal

It needed an injury time penalty for Iran as they drew 1-1 against Portugal at the Mordovia Arena, Saransk.

The match kick-started with an early shot from Cristiano Ronaldo as he bustled his way to hit a low shot close to the goal which was pushed away by the Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand. Right after, Iran had a chance at goal but Mehdi Taremi disappointed the crowd with a bad shot.

Cristiano Ronaldo went for another shot which was deflected right into the hands of the Iranian keeper. Just before the end of the first half, Ricardo Quaresma curled in a beautiful shot from the outside of his boot to give Portugal the lead.

Half Time – Iran 0 – 1 Portugal

The second half took a dramatic start after Cristiano Ronaldo flung Saeid Ezatolahi into the ground which was reviewed by VAR to give a yellow card.

Ronaldo was then fouled inside the box but Alireza did brilliantly to save the resulting penalty from the Portugese skipper.

It seemed as if Portugal would win and finish on top of the table but a VAR decision gave a penalty for handball by Cedric, deep into injury time. Karim Ansarifard scored to end the game in a draw.

Full Time – Iran 1 – 1 Portugal

Man of the Match – Ricardo Quaresma

Goal Scorers
Portugal – Ricardo Quaresma 45’
Iran – Karim Ansarifard 90+3’ (P)

Yellow Cards
Portugal – Raphael Guerro 33’, Ricardo Quaresma 64’, Cristiano Ronaldo 83’, Cedric Soares 90+8’
Iran – Ehsan Hajsafi 52’, Sardar Azmoun 54’

VAR rescues Spain

Spain bounced back twice to steal a 2-2 draw against Morocco in what was a dramatic encounter at the Kaliningrad Stadium, as they topped group B booking their place in the round of 16 to face Russia.

The game looked a physical battle from the onset with both the teams putting in some unconvincing challenges; especially Morocco, which saw them getting 4 yellow cards in the first half.

It was Morocco who got the scoreboard in the 14th minute despite the Spanish domination through a goal from Khalid Boutaib, who caught Spain on the break through a misunderstanding between Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta, before putting it calmly through the legs of David De Gea.

Iniesta proved that he’s a fine wine just five minutes later as he demonstrated some magic to take the ball near the left byline before tugging it backwards to Isco Alarcon who smashed the ball into the net from point blank range to equalize.

Half Time – Spain 1 – 1 Morocco

A thunderbolt from the Moroccan winger Nordin Amrabat could only rattle the posts while Romain Saiss denied Isco his second of the night by safely clearing off his header for a corner at the other end of the pitch.  

A combination of substitutes gave Morocco the lead in the 81st minute as a bullet header from Youssef En-Nesyri to a beautiful delivery through a corner by Faycal Fajr found the back of the net.

Then the Spain substitute Iago Aspas rose to the occasion in the 91st minute as he flicked in a Dani Carvajal low cross into the net which was initially denied for offside. But the VAR came into Spain’s rescue denying Morocco a famous World Cup victory, with the decision being overturned amidst huge protests from Moroccan players.

Full Time – Spain 2 – 2 Morocco

Man of the Match – Isco Alarcon (Spain)

Goal Scorers
Spain – Isco Alarcon 19’, Iago Aspas 90+1’
Morocco – Khalid Boutaib 14’, Youssef En-Nesyri 81’

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