Fidelity bank card banner Emerald Energy Institute Camano banner

World Cup 2018: Spain rally to draw 2-2 with Morocco

By News Express on 26/06/2018

Gmail icon

Views: 970

Iago Aspas scored a stoppage-time equaliser - with the aid of VAR - as Spain scraped an unconvincing draw with Morocco to top Group B and secure a World Cup last-16 tie against hosts Russia.

Youssef En-Nesyri - who plays in Spain for Malaga - looked to have won it for Herve Renard's side when he powered in a superb header from fellow substitute Faycal Fajr's corner.

But Aspas flicked in Dani Carvajal's low cross to make it 2-2, with referee Ravshan Irmatov initially disallowing the goal before overturning the decision.

Spain won the group on goals scored as Portugal were held to a 1-1 draw by Iran - but had a tough night as they extended their unbeaten run to 23 games.

A dreadful mix-up between Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos had allowed Khalid Boutaib to stride through and give Morocco a surprise 14th-minute lead.

Iniesta made amends five minutes later by helping create a sublime equaliser, exchanging passes with Diego Costa and getting to the byeline before cutting back for Isco to steer high into the net.

But Spain looked wobbly in defence when pressed by a committed, aggressive Morocco side, with Boutaib denied by the legs of David de Gea after Hakim Ziyech's quick throw sent him clear.

Nordin Amrabat was desperately unlucky not to score in the second half as his searing shot came back off the angle of post and bar with De Gea motionless.

Isco was denied a second goal when his header was diverted wide by Romain Saiss - playing instead of dropped captain Medhi Benatia - before the late drama.

Spain wobble at the back

Spain have been hit and miss at this World Cup - perhaps unsurprisingly, given the turbulence surrounding the pre-tournament sacking of coach Julen Lopetegui.

They were excellent in their opening game against Portugal - but had to settle for a 3-3 draw - and poor in their second match against Iran - but won 1-0.

In Kaliningrad, they dominated possession - having more than 75% of the ball - and had 18 shots to Morocco's six. However, they produced a performance that must still have concerned new coach Fernando Hierro.

The game's first two goals were the clearest demonstration of Spain's strange display. Iniesta's loose return pass to Ramos was down to a lapse in concentration, allowing Morocco to take the lead, but his setting up of Isco's equaliser was beautifully done.

Spain were defensively off-key whenever under pressure, with Gerard Pique lucky to escape punishment early on for a two-footed lunge towards Boutaib - saved by the fact that he did make contact with the ball - before he avoided sanction for a clear second-half handball on the edge of his own penalty area.

In Pique's defence, he nearly made amends with a header that veered just wide, from an Isco corner, but they were grateful to Aspas for securing them first place in the group - and ensuring they avoided the dangerous Uruguay in the next round.

 There is a strong case for arguing that Morocco are the unluckiest team to be eliminated at the group stage - with poor finishing costing them a point against Portugal, and possibly all three against Iran.

As it was, they lost both of those games 1-0, meaning they were already out before they kicked off against Spain.

There has clearly been a lot of frustration building up in the Morocco camp in recent days - with captain Benatia making public criticisms of assistant coach Mustapha Hadji, the former Coventry midfielder, after Wednesday's defeat by Portugal.

That may have contributed to Benatia being left out of the team to face Spain - but those who did play went into the match with a point to prove.

At times, they were too aggressive - as a tally of six yellow cards showed, even if one or two of them were harsh.

However, their commitment made for an enthralling game in which they defended with great discipline and looked dangerous on the counter-attack.

Renard had complained before the game about refereeing decisions going against his team in their opening two games, and his players thought they had been on the wrong end of a decision when Aspas' goal was allowed to stand.

Frustrations threatened to boil over in a chaotic end to the game, with a cluster of players being involved in a confrontation - although television evidence suggested that referee Irmatov did get it right by allowing the goal after consulting with the video assistant refereeing team. (BBC)

•Spain's Iago Aspas celebrates scoring their second goal with Sergio Ramos. (Reuters Photo)

Source News Express

Posted 26/06/2018 04:51:53 AM





You may also like...
First Class-bound final year varsity student commits suicide...

Secondus congratulates Oshiomhole, hopes his coming will help...

1,500 children reported missing in America

Ambode spits fire, says no more hiding place...

Igbos are the most truthful Nigerians — Okorocha...

Ned Nwoko wins HURIWA anniversary award

Tension brews in Ekiti community as election draws...

Nigeria gets fresh $200 million loan

Enugu Muslim community seeks closer ties with Ugwuanyi...

Insecurity may mar 2019 polls — Northern royal...

Factory owner, electrician electrocuted in Nsukka

Drug war: HURIWA charges NDLEA, National Assembly


Latest News Port Harcourt serial killer unmasked Buhari sacks Head of Service Oyo-Ita, hands job to Yemi-Esan Another suspected Port Harcourt serial killer nabbed Alleged rape: Adamawa teacher, 12-year-old schoolgirl are lovers — NUT chairman Pandemonium in Onitsha market as Police officer shoots vigilante chief 5 killed, several injured as gunmen attack Taraba communities Champions League: Man City win convincingly in Shakhtar, PSG beat Real Public outcry over N5.5bn voted for lawmakers’ utility vehicles nonsensical, says Senate Dickson fires aide over misconduct Governors meet over N614bn bailout deductions, others Nigeria, South Africa, xenophobia and the United Nations, By Bashir Maidugu RIWAMA issues final warning to defaulting service providers


Most Read NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (541,556 views) Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (443,462 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (389,808 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (326,914 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (294,945 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (253,779 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (249,961 views) 10 cars more expensive than Jets (238,642 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (231,652 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (217,694 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (196,011 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (193,595 views)


CBN milk production

CBN banner advert

UBA Wise Savers Promo


Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (102) Business & Economy (4,451) Business Verdict (80) Columnists (1,110) Complaints & Requests (96) Enterprise & Opportunities (215) Entertainment (664) Features (812) Global Business Monitor (442) ICT Monitor (63) International (3,963) Interview (203) Live Commentary (30) Love Matters (170) Maggie's Blog (414) News (51,468) Opinion (1,360) Pidgin (17) Politics (11,453) Religion (1,102) Sports (2,170) Stock Watch (39) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update







APO Group Partner




GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member



Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera