Two late goals secured Iran a thrilling 2-0 victory over Wales to keep their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the World Cup alive.
Roozbeh Chesmi fired from distance to give Iran the lead brilliantly in the 98th minute, while Ramin Rezaian sealed the victory in the 101st minute, securing Iran’s first points in the tournament.
The two goals came after Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessy was sent off in the second half for a surprising challenge outside his area, becoming the first player in this tournament to receive a red card.
Iran created the better chances and were deserved winners in a tense match as both sides needed wins to boost their chances of advancing from Group B.
Iran’s players joined in singing the national anthem before the match, while boos were heard inside the Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium in Qatar.
During the playing of the national anthem ahead of Iran’s opening match against England on Monday, Iranian players stood silent in what was widely interpreted as a show of solidarity with protesters in their country.
Iran appears at this World Cup in the shadow of domestic turmoil, as this match takes place one day after the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, said the country is in a “full-blown human rights crisis” as the authorities crack down on opponents of the regime.
The protests, which experts have pointed to as the most significant since the establishment of clerical rule in the aftermath of the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and violence has rocked Iran in recent months and threatened the nature of the regime in the country, which has been in power for more than 40 years. .
The incident was sparked by the death of Mohsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died after being detained by Iran’s morality police, allegedly for not adhering to the country’s conservative dress code. Iranian security forces unleashed a violent response.
After a heavy 6-2 defeat against England, Iran played better in their second match.
It was goalless at the break after a tense opening 45 minutes on a sweltering day at Al Rayyan. Wales striker Kiefer Moore had the best chance of the half, heading in just wide when he was free on goal.
Although Ali Gholizadeh thought he had put Iran ahead, the video assistant referee (VAR) ruled the goal out for offside.
Iranian star Sardar Azmoun hit the post twice early in the second half as Iran set the pace and Wales rode their luck, and it looked as if both sides would split a point before Cesme opened the scoring – sending Iranian fans celebrating and mumbling. Welsh unit.