Mehdi Taremi wasted a gilt-edged chance after Karim Ansarifard's penalty had thrown Iran a lifeline, but Portugal survived with a 1-1 draw to make the World Cup last 16 despite Cristiano Ronaldo's missed spot-kick in a match dominated by VAR.
The usually prolific Ronaldo was off target with a 53rd-minute penalty, awarded after a video-assisted review, as Portugal failed to build on Ricardo Quaresma's first-half stunner in the crucial Group B contest.
OH MY, Quaresma! 😱😱— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 25, 2018
The 34-year-old rewards his manager with a beautiful outside-of-the-foot shot that finds the upper corner. pic.twitter.com/wmhTCm7X8y
That miss from Ronaldo, who was perhaps fortunate not to see red for another VAR check after swinging an arm into the face of Morteza Pouraliganji, was punished when Cedric Soares was pinged for handball after referee Enrique Caceres again went to his video monitor.
Ronaldo steps up from the spot but it's SAVED by Beiranvand! pic.twitter.com/LKLaeWSyWE— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 25, 2018
Unlike Ronaldo, Ansarifard made no mistake with a powerful finish into the roof of the net to set up a grandstand finish in Saransk.
Iran equalizes from the spot!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 25, 2018
Can they get another in stoppage time to shock Portugal?? pic.twitter.com/WiV5fHO4Hf
But Taremi fluffed his lines in the dying embers, firing into the side-netting from close range as Portugal held out for a crucial point.
Portugal was THIS close to getting knocked out of the FIFA World Cup. 😳 pic.twitter.com/y8KxYTvoiG— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 25, 2018
It means the European champions are into the last 16 in second place, behind Spain – who themselves secured a dramatic 2-2 draw with Morocco – only on goals scored, while Iran settle for third with four points.