Stoppage time own goal gives Iran World Cup victory over Morocco
search

Stoppage time own goal gives Iran World Cup victory over Morocco

Activists use their national team’s first match in Russia to protest Iran’s ban on women attending soccer matches

Morocco's Aziz Bouhaddouz, 20, scores an own goal during the group B match between Morocco and Iran at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
Morocco's Aziz Bouhaddouz, 20, scores an own goal during the group B match between Morocco and Iran at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)

MOSCOW — Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz headed a free kick into his own net in the fifth minute of injury time to gift Iran a 1-0 win over Morocco at the World Cup on Friday.

Only on the field as a 77th-minute substitute, the Morocco striker dived to reach a curling cross from the left but wound up glancing a header past goalkeeper Monir El Kajoui.

There was an explosion of joy among the Iranian squad, with coaching staff and substitutes sprinting onto the field and jumping.

It was only Iran’s second win in 13 matches at the World Cup and the first win for an Asian team in the tournament since 2010.

Iranian Players celebrate as Morocco’s Aziz Bouhaddouz lies on the pitch after scoring an own goal during the group B match between Morocco and Iran at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Friday, June 15, 2018. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

With Spain and Portugal the other teams in Group B, this was regarded as a must-win game in St. Petersburg for two of the tournament outsiders.

Iranian activists used  their national team’s first match at the World Cup to protest Iran’s ban on women attending soccer matches.

Fans unfurled a protest banner at the stadium Friday in the Russian city of St. Petersburg during Iran’s opening match against Morocco, prompting a brief commotion. It read “#NoBan4Women” and “Support Iranian Women to Attend Stadiums.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iranian women have been banned from attending football matches and other male-only sporting events.

Iran’s fans arrive at the Saint Petersburg Stadium before the Russia 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Morocco and Iran on June 15, 2018. (AFP/Olga Maltseva)

Ahead of Friday’s match, fans from Iran and Morocco mingled on the streets of Russia’s northern capital, wearing their countries’ flags, blowing whistles and chanting songs. Enthusiastic Iranian women were among them.

That contrasted with the one of the main squares in Tehran, where a billboard portrays fans celebrating and holding aloft the World Cup, accompanied by the slogan “One nation, one heartbeat.” There were no women on it.

read more:
less
comments
more