Iran scored twice within the remaining moments of stoppage time to maintain alive their hopes of reaching the World Cup knockout levels for the primary time with an exciting last-gasp victory over a surprised 10-man Wales.
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Wales, who had keeper Wayne Hennessey despatched off late within the match, seemed to have survived the Iranian onslaught of their Group B encounter at Al Rayyan’s Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, earlier than substitute Rouzbeh Cheshmi discovered the online and Ramin Rezaeian sealed the win with seconds left.
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Iran had come out fighting in the second half and hit the post twice in a matter of seconds, with Sardar Azmoun’s shot rebounding to Ali Gholizadeh, whose follow-up cannoned off the upright and back to the waiting Azmoun, who headed tamely into keeper Hennessey’s hands.
Iran, whose World Cup squad has been distracted by a political crisis at home, came close again on 72 minutes when Hennessey got a fingertip on Saeid Ezatolahi’s shot, then piled on the pressure after Hennessey was sent off for dangerous play when he charged out of his area and clattered into the onrushing Mehdi Taremi.
After the match, Wales captain Gareth Bale told BBC radio, “We are gutted. We fought till the last second. It’s one of those things difficult to take but you have to. (In the team huddle after match) I just said, keep going, we have to pick ourselves up. We have to…”