Iran punish Hennessey’s blunder with crushing win over 10-man Wales

Just as the clocks on the big screens at either end of this stadium ticked into the eighth minute of stoppage time, Wales cracked. For so long it seemed they would somehow avoid losing a match that had become the epitome of living dangerously well before Wayne Hennessey was sent off for inadvertently poleaxing Mehdi Taremi on 86 minutes. But then the substitute Roozbeh Cheshmi curled home from the edge of the box and Ramin Rezaeian put the gloss on a victory in the 11th minute of stoppage time, denting Wales’s now slim hopes of progressing to the last 16 in the process.

The Iran striker Sardar Azmoun grabbed Carlos Queiroz’s cheeks with joy at the final whistle, before attempting to piggyback his manager moments later, and Iran soon set off on a victory lap as some of Wales’s players lay floored. When Cheshmi struck, Wales could not exactly say it had not been coming. They had been clinging on – Iran rattled the woodwork twice inside 20 seconds in the second half – and Gareth Bale’s hands were clasped behind his back in the box, frantically trying to prevent the possibility of giving away a penalty as Iran peppered the Wales goal.

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