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FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

Spain Snatches Controversial Point Off Morocco to Top Group B

Spain survived a big scare and pulled ahead at the last second to top group B.

After an action packed night in Kalinigrad, Spain survived a big scare and pulled ahead at the last second to top group B.

The former world champions scored a late dramatic equaliser following an overturned offside decision by VAR to hold Morocco to a 2-2 draw in the final group B match.

Spain won the group by goals scored as Portugal were held to a 1-1 draw by Iran but the team is far from finding the rhythm to be contenders.

Morocco opened the scoring in the 14th minute after a calamitous mix up between Spanish defender Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta. Kalid Boutaib walked into a Ramos pass and dribbled half the field before slotting it between David De Gea’s legs.

It took just five minutes for Spain to equalise. Isco finished off Andres Iniesta’s cut back pass after a gorgeous combination between Diego Costa and Iniesta. Spain dominated possession and continued to threaten but Morocco moved forward with confidence and kept the former World champions under constant duress.

Morocco once again took the lead in the 78th minute thanks to a Youssef En-Nesyri bullet header following Fajr’s perfect delivery. The playmaker outleaped Sergio Ramos at the penalty spot to head into the empty net once exposing Spanish defensive woes.

With an eye on the Portugal-Iran encounter, Spain knew it would still qualify with a 2-1 loss, but living things to chance was a risk the Spanish gaffer wasn’t willing to take. He brought on Marco Asensio, Iago Aspas and Rodrigo to add pressure on the Moroccan defence.

The substitutions paid off as Aspas scored from a fast taken corner in extra time. The La Rojas started a short corner and whipped in a low cross, which Aspas flipped past Munir with his back-heel. The assistant referee raised his flag and called for an off side but an extensive review with VAR awarded the goal after showing Aspas onside.

The Moroccans will once again be feeling unlucky to finish their final game with just a draw after having more than one chance to win the encounter. They will go home wondering what could have been in all the three games and the tournament in general if most decisions had gone their way. Despite facing tournament favourites, they for long stretches looked the better side and deserved to win the game.

Spain won the group ahead of Portugal after a tie breaker and will face the hosts Russia in Moscow while Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. take on a tricky Uruguay side on Sunday.

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