Rabat – Morocco’s Atlas Lions lost their first 2018 World Cup game against Iran 1-0 in Saint Petersburg on Friday.
Aziz Bouhaddouz, who entered the game in the 76th minute, scored against his team after a free kick granted to Iran in the extra time of the second half.
Morocco’s football team had been the better side throughout the game as the team dominated the first half with 69 percent of ball possession against 31 percent for Iran.
Morocco missed several golden opportunities to make a goal in the first half but they were stopped by Iran’s competent goalie, which led them to increase their efforts in the second half.
Iran relied on counter attacks during the game, but finally won in over-time with Bouhaddouz’ accidental header.
Moroccan star Nordin Amrabat left the field in the 73rd minute, to be replaced by his brother Sofyan Amrabat.
Morocco’s coach Hervé Renard also made a change in the 76th minute of the game, exchanging forward El Kaabi with Aziz Bouhaddouz, a choice that will long haunt him.
Manuel de Costa was the final change for Morocco when midfielder Harit left the green arena.
The game was attended by hundreds of Moroccan football fans, who followed their team to Russia. Before the game, Morocco’s football fans sang along with Moroccan footballers the national anthem passionately.
Morocco and Iran opened the 2018 World Cup’s deadly group, Group B, of the 2018.
The second game of the group will between Spain and Portugal at 6:00 p.m (Moroccan time). Morocco plays its next game against Portugal Wednesday, June 20.