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Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat
Asharq Al-Awsat

Iran Stun Wales at World Cup

Soccer Football - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 - Group B - Wales v Iran - Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan, Qatar - November 25, 2022 Iran's Ramin Rezaeian celebrates after the match with Ali Karimi and teammates REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Iran scored twice deep in stoppage time to stun Wales 2-0 on Friday.

Iran's players sang the national anthem before the Group B clash, having opted not to in their opener in Qatar, and were worthy winners against a Wales side reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey received the first red card of the World Cup.

Iran, who would have been eliminated with defeat, then punished Gareth Bale's Wales in the eighth minute of injury time through substitute Rouzbeh Cheshmi's powerful drive.

The Iranians sent their thousands of fans at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium wild when Ramin Rezaeian clipped in a second goal on the counter-attack.

There were emotional scene as Iran's players and staff, including their Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, embraced on the pitch and took in the acclaim of their supporters.

Mehdi Taremi, the team's star striker, paid tribute to Iran's fans afterwards.

"Thank you to our supporters, they helped us all the time," said Taremi, who was cut down by Hennessey when the goalkeeper came haring out of his goal.

"We need those supporters to support us like always," added Taremi, whose side will reach the last 16 if they win their politically charged clash with the United States on Tuesday.

"Even those who are in Iran behind their TV, we need their positive energy.

"We have a dream and we want to give that dream a chance."

Iran were thumped 6-2 by England in their opening match and beforehand had stood impassively during their national anthem in an apparent gesture of solidarity with anti-government protesters in Iran.

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