2018 FIFA World Cup: Iago Aspas Scores Late Equaliser As Spain Top Group B
Iago Aspas scored late in the game as Spain topped Group B after registering a dramatic 2-2 draw with Morocco.
The proceedings in Group B ended could not have a more dramatic end. With Iran equalising 1-1 against Portugal, Spain topped the group and will take on hosts Russia in the last 16 on Sunday. On the other hand, Portugal face Uruguay on Saturday in Sochi.
Needing just a draw to secure their spot in the knockouts, Spain were off to a disastrous start. Khalid Boutaib put Morocco ahead in the very 14th minute. However, Spain soon took command of the game after Isco hit the equaliser five minutes later. But it looked like the 2010 winners are set for an embarrassing night when substitute Youssef En Nesyri rose highest to head home a corner with just nine minutes remaining. However, Aspas restored parity with a superb flick finish in the stoppage time to send Spain in the next round.
The game began on a controversial note. Gerard Pique’s two-footed challenge on Boutaib went unpunished. But Morocco soon had the smiles back on their face when they took the lead after a mix-up at the back between Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos allowed Boutaib to race through on goal and slot under David de Gea.
The joy, however, did not last long. Five minutes after the opener, Spain showed their quality to equalise as Isco finished off a superb team move from close range.
Chances kept on coming for both the sides. Shortly after Isco’s equaliser, Boutaib was allowed through on goal. However, this time de Gea stood tall to block from eight yards. At the other end Sergio Busquets sent an unmarked header from a corner over the bar.
Nordin Amrabat then had nearly scored the goal of the tournament as his stunning effort from 25-yards crashed off the bar. Isco, on the other side, had his header cleared off the line by Romain Saiss.
With Portugal winning against Iran that put Spain in second place, En Nesyri piled more misery on La Roja. He scored a super header from Faycal Fajr’s corner to give Morocco the lead in the 81st minute.
Spain, however, were not ready to throw in the towel yet. In the stoppage time, Aspas’ flick from Dani Carvajal’s right-wing cross found the net. The goal was initially ruled out for off-side. However, after deliberation with the VAR, the goal was correctly awarded with the former Liverpool man just onside.
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