ST PETERSBURG, June 15 (Reuters) - Aziz Bouhaddouz headed an own goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time to give Iran a stunning 1-0 victory over Morocco in the first Group B game of the World Cup on Friday.
The rank outsiders in a group also containing Spain and Portugal were set for a 0-0 draw of little use to either until Ehsan Hajsafi curled in a free kick from the left wing which Bouhaddouz tried to intercept at the near-post but instead steered it into the goal.
It was heart-breaking for Morocco, making their first finals appearance for 20 years, but after starting brightly they will rue their cautious second-half display.
Morocco keeper Munir Mohamedi had earlier made a smart double save to deny Sardar Azmoun’s sharp shot and Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s looping follow-up while Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvand also had to stay alert when he went full-length to touch away Hakim Ziyech’s low volley.
Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Ed Osmond