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Iran punish Wales in stoppage time

Iran ignore the distractions that have shadowed the team since they landed in Qatar to get their World Cup campaign underway as they gathered to beating sloppy Wales 0-2 on Friday, giving themselves chance of reaching the knockout stage.

Iran defeated them 6-2 from England in their Group B opener but those two goals against the table champions gave them the confidence to compete with the European teams as they arrived at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium with a point to prove. The Asian team has never made it past the group stage in five previous World Cups but Carlos Queiroz’s players will now fancy their chances after an impressive display as they punished a Welsh team who were reduced to 10 men late in the second half.

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Leading strikers Sardar Azmoun a Mehdi Taremi both plying their trade in Europe and Queiroz, who had chosen just one forward against England, matched them up front to keep the Welsh defense back and on their toes throughout the game. Iranian goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand missed the game after suffering concussion and a broken nose against England and his substitute Seyed Hossein Hosseini very much up to the task against Wales despite shipping six goals in the opener.

He saw the beginning of a cage Iran taking advantage of gaps in the Welsh midfield which had a numerical advantage but lacked discipline and was easily overrun when both Aaron Ramsey a Ethan Ampadu pour on. Iran fired their first warning shot when they had the ball in the net in the opening half against the run of play when pouncing on a weak pass, only for the effort to be ruled out for offside.

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After a goalless first half, it was barely minutes into the second period when Iran burst into life as Azmoun and Ali Gholizadeh hit the woodwork within seconds of each other while Saeid Ezatolahi also had an attempt saved. That panic sowed in the Welsh side who were clearly tired in the heat and it ended when it did Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey charged from his box and drew Taremi with a high knee, as he received a red card for his troubles. The send off opened the game for Iran and burst forward with renewed energy and, with nine minutes of stoppage time added, they demolished Wales a deadly one-two punch to leave the Welsh fans in the stands in tears.

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Roozbeh Cheshmi he opened the scoring with a sublime long range shot which the substitute keeper had Danny Ward scrambled before Ramin Rezaian doubled the lead with a neat chip on another counter attack where they outnumbered their Welsh counterparts.

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