June 15 (UPI) — Iran defeated Morocco with the help of an own goal in the 95th minute of its World Cup opening bout on Friday in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
The Iranians and Moroccans played a scoreless first half and 49 minutes of scoreless soccer after the break.
Iran’s Ehsan Haji Safi stepped in for a free kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time during the play of the game. He swung the feed in from the left side, sending it toward the near post.
Aziz Bouhaddouz — who came on as a substitute in the 77th minute — ran out ahead of the attack on the play. He put his head on the feed in an effort to direct it out of danger. Instead, he headed the ball past Moroccan keeper Munir Mohand Mohamedi for the only goal of the game.
Morocco had 13 shot attempts, with three shots on target in the Group B bout. Iran had eight shot attempts, with five on target.
Morocco also held 64 percent of the possession in the loss.
The Iranians battle Spain at 2 p.m., Wednesday at Kazan Arena in Kazan, Russia. Morocco faces Portugal at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.