Matchday two wrap – Late goals spell disastrous day for the African teams

Matchday two wrap – Late goals spell disastrous day for the African teams
Iran's players celebrate after the FIFA World Cup 2018 group B preliminary round soccer match between Morocco and Iran in St.Petersburg, Russia, 15 June 2018.

by Brian Lee

Friday Jun 15, 2018. 22:11

Matchday two of the 2018 FIFA World Cup was a disastrous day for the African teams with both Egypt and Morocco losing their opening group games by a single goal on Friday.

But we also saw the game of the tournament with a six goal thriller between Portugal and Spain.

Egypt 0-1 Uruguay:

The first match of the day, for the most part, was a rather dull affair with both Egypt and Uruguay lacking the killer instinct in the final third of the field.

The biggest talking point from this Group A game was the fact that Egyptian coach Hector Cuper decided not to play Liverpool star Mohamed Salah, who was reportedly fit enough to take the field.

In the end it was a bitter pill for Egypt to swallow when Jose Gimenez found the back of the net for Uruguay in the 89th minute to hand the South Americans a 1-0 win at the Yekaterinburg Arena.

The loss leaves Egypt second from bottom of Group A, tied on zero points with Saudi Arabia who lost 5-0 to Russia on the opening day of the tournament.

Uruguay are second in Group A with three points, behind Russia on goal difference.

Morocco 0-1 Iran:

Much like their African brothers, Morocco were desperately unluckily to go down to Iran in their Group B opener at the St. Petersburg Stadium on Friday.

An 95th minute own goal from Aziz Bouhaddouz broke the hearts of Moroccan fans as they lost 1-0 to the Iranians which left them at the bottom of the group.

To be fair the Moroccans never really offered much in attack and will need to do a lot of work in order to improve for their next World Cup match.

Portugal 3-3 Spain:

In probably the match of the tournament thus far, a hat-trick from superstar Cristiano Ronaldo saved Portuguese blushes as they drew 3-3 against Spain in Group B’s other match on Friday night.

It was a match that shifted dominancy on numerous occasions with Ronaldo giving Portugal the lead in the fourth minute from the penalty spot before Diego Costa equalised midway through the first half.

Portugal took the lead again a minute before the break thanks to an error from Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea that saw him spill a timid Ronaldo shot into the net.

Spain, though, hit back ten minutes into the second half thanks to a second goal from Costa before taking the lead just before the hour mark courtesy of a long range volley from Nacho (the man who conceded the penalty early on).

But cometh the hour cometh the man as Ronaldo stepped up to smash home a 26-yard free-kick in the 88th minute to see the two nations share the spoils and joint pole position in Group B.

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