Two late goals gave Iran a sensational 2-0 win against Wales to maintain its hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the World Cup.
Rouzbeh Cheshmi struck from range to brilliantly give Iran the lead in the 98th minute, while Ramin Rezaeian sealed victory in the 101st minute to secure Iran’s first points of the tournament.
Both goals came after Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was sent off in the second half for a rash challenge outside his area, becoming the first player in the tournament to receive a red card.
Iran created the better chances and was a deserved winner in a tense game as both teams needed wins to improve their chances of progressing from Group B.
Iran’s players joined in the singing of the national anthem ahead of Friday’s game, while boos were heard at the Ahmed bin Ali stadium in Qatar at the same time.
While playing the national anthems for Iran’s opening match against England on Monday, the Iranian players fell silent in what was widely interpreted as a show of solidarity with those protesting at home.
Iran appears at this World Cup in the shadow of domestic unrest, with this game taking place a day after Volker Turk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the country is in a “full-fledged human rights crisis”. while the authorities crack down on dissidents against the regime.
Protests, referred to by experts as the most significant since the establishment of clerical rule following Iran’s 1979 revolution, and violence have rocked Iran in recent months and the nature of the country’s regime, which has been in power for more than 40 years. is endangered. .
The trigger was the death of Mahsa 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 have unleashed a violent response.
After the heavy 6-2 defeat against England, Iran played a lot better in its second game.
The score was goalless at half-time after a nervous 45-minute opening on a blistering day at Al Rayyan. Wales striker Kieffer Moore had the best chance of the half, somehow heading wide as he went clear on goal.
Although Ali Gholizadeh thought he had put Iran ahead, the video assistant referee (VAR) ruled out the goal for offside.
Iranian star Sardar Azmoun hit the post twice early in the second half as Iran set the pace and Wales rode his luck. It looked like both teams would split a point each before Cheshmi opened the scoring. Welsh contingent.
Elsewhere, World Cup hosts Qatar are on the verge of exiting the tournament after a second consecutive defeat, losing 3-1 to Senegal.
Qatar was much improved after the opening day loss to Ecuador, but was overpowered by a Senegalese side who eventually arrived at the World Cup. Senegal’s win marked the first time an African team won in Qatar 2022.
Senegal took a lead in the first half after Boulaye Dia took advantage of a defensive error. The Teranga Lions doubled their lead shortly after the break with a powerful header from Famara Diedhiou.
Qatar finally woke up and took the game to their opponent, with some spectacular saves from Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy before scoring a deserved goal, Mohammed Muntari heading home after a fine move down the wing.
Just as the comeback seemed to be starting, the wind was taken out of the Qatari sails by Bamba Dieng. The substitute made a simple completion after a brilliant dribble from Iliman Ndiaye.
The match ended in dismal fashion for the host team as thousands of Qataris headed for the exits after the third Senegal goal, their hopes for a fairytale World Cup all but gone.