Tuesday, 17 July, 2018

VAR helps Spain claim draw with Morocco

Fernando Hierro Fernando Hierro
Ivan Hill | 26 June, 2018, 11:43

23 - Though Spain left it late, tonight's draw extends their unbeaten run to 23 matches, a sequence that no other team on the planet can match.

Spain put in a shaky defensive performance against Morocco and could have been reduced to 10 men when Gerard Pique escaped a red card for a two-footed lunge on Khalid Boutaib.

"We were a bit doubtful at the start of the game, once again", Isco said.

Ramos was also outjumped for Morocco's second goal, when Youssef En Nesyri powered home a header - much to the delight of some social media users.

Spain progressed to the round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup, despite drawing 2-2 with Morocco in their final Group B clash.

"We've shown we were able to take on two of the best teams in the world in Spain and Portugal", said the Frenchman.

Spain's players acknowledge the crowd at the end of the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group B football match between Spain and Morocco at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad on 25 June, 2018.

Morocco coach Herve Renard said before the game his team, the first to be eliminated this tournament, had been victim to "total injustice" in their opening 1-0 losses.

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"Let's wait until the end of the World Cup". We must fix these details, as every chance they make is risky. But Iran struck back with a stoppage-time penalty from Karim Ansarifard to secure a draw, and when Iago Aspas scored on a VAR-assisted equalizer in stoppage time, Spain found itself top of Group B after all.

The good news is that Spain is still getting the results they need, and there is time to clean things up.

"We would have loved to get a win over Spain, this is why we came here tonight".

Defending ruggedly and breaking out in fast counterattacks, Morocco was a constant threat and came close to taking the lead earlier when Noureddine Amrabat rattled the goal frame with a powerful shot in the 55th minute that David De Gea could only watch as it bounced down to safety.

Morocco had failed to score in its opening two fixtures at Russian Federation 2018, despite two creditable performances, and had little to play for.

The round of 16 first pairings have been determined following the results in Group B. Spain will take on Russian Federation while Portugal will come face to face with Uruguay.

Spain's brand of football makes them easy on the eye and Isco and Iniesta provide the creativity to cut open defences.

When they regained possession they broke with pace and objective, and almost took the lead after 55 minutes when Noureddine Amrabat's right-foot scorcher from distance cannoned off the crossbar.

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