Aziz Bouhaddouz scored a calamitous own goal deep into second-half stoppage time as Morocco slipped to a 1-0 defeat to Iran in their first World Cup match for 20 years.
The late drama sparked wild celebrations from the Iran bench in St Petersburg as Carlos Queiroz's side took three points from a game in which they were second best for long periods.
Herve Renard's well-organised team extended Morocco's record of never having won their opening game in the tournament despite dominating the match and carving out opportunities to score either side of half-time.
Iran's counter-attacking strategy had failed to bear fruit with Karim Ansarifard and Sardar Azmoun squandering great chances until their wastefulness was rendered irrelevant by Bouhaddouz's late error.
The Morocco striker, on as a substitute in the 77th minute, put Ehsan Haji Safi's free-kick through his own net with a diving header in the 95th minute of the game, leaving no time for a comeback.
While Iran celebrated, Morocco faced up to the daunting reality of going into their remaining Group B games against Spain and Portugal with no points on the board.
90+4 1-0 Team Melli! Iran takes the lead at the death, unfortunately for Moroccan striker Aziz Bouhaddouz, he heads the ball into his own net.
Both sides impressed defensively on route to the World Cup. This could be the first 0-0 draw of the World Cup. However with games against Portugal and Spain for each side this is the realistic chance for both sides to pick up three points.
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We have team news! Hakim Ziyech starts for the Atlas Lions! Whilst Sardor Azmoun leads the line for Team Melli! We are 45 minutes away from kick-off in Saint Petersburg!
Hello! Welcome to the Live Updates of Morocco Vs Iran! The Atlas Lions are back at the World Cup, can they kick-start their group B campaign with a big win against a defensively strong Iran team? We'll find out in 90 minutes time! Team news when we get it!
Morocco is back at the World Cup for the first time since 1998, but the Atlas Lions face a tough test against a defensively strong Iranian side in their opening game of the 2018 World Cup. The game will take place in the Saint Petersburg Stadium. As ever you can watch the match Live & Exclusive on beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
After 20 years away, the Atlas Lions will be hoping to start their campaign well. Morocco became the first African side to qualify for Russia and will need to grab at least a point ahead of tough games against Portugal & Spain.
French boss Herve Renard has never managed at a World Cup but has plenty of experience guiding both Zambia & the Ivory Coast to glory in the African Cup of nations.
Captain Medhi Benatia is widely expected to lead the Atlas Lions to their first World Cup in 20 years. The 30-year-old defender started his career in France and has played for some of the biggest sides in Europe including Roma, Bayern Munich & Juventus. His experience will be vital if Morocco is to make it out of the group.
Morocco Predicted Team
Munir – Hakimi, Benatia, Saïss, Amrabat – El Ahmadi – Harit, Boussoufa, Belhanda, Ziyech – El Kaabi
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TV Channel- MAX HD3
Stadium- Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg
As for Iran, they are looking to make it out of the group stage for the first time in their history. Team Melli comfortably qualified for Russia 2018, but have endured a mixed bag in preparing for the World Cup with friendly defeats to Turkey & Tunisia on route to the group B opener.
Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz managed the side at Brazil 2014, in what could be his final tournament as team Melli coach. With Iran not registering a victory in their last two World Cup finals outings, a victory would cement Queiroz as a footballing legend in the country.
Iran Predicted Team
Beiranvand – Mohammadi, Cheshmi, Pouraliganji, Rezeian – Shojaei, Hajsafi – Taremi, Azmoun, Jahanbaksh – Ghoddos
Attacker Sardar Azmoun is likely to lead the line for Iran and will be charged with firing Iran to the knock out stages. The promising 23-year old is currently plying his trade with Russian side Rubin Kazan and could be a breakout star for his country.
It promises to be an interesting match as Morocco takes on Iran in their first World Cup game in 20 years. You can watch all the action Live & Exclusive on MAX HD3 & beIN SPORTS CONNECT.