PLAYER RATINGS | Wales 0-2 Iran – Wayne Hennessey sent off in dramatic late show

Iran sealed a dramatic win over Wales in a crucial Group B encounter in Doha via two injury-time goals. The Welsh were the first half’s better side but, although still a threat via Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi, Iran lacked the same midfield invention of Wales while defending in numbers. Kieffer Moore’s volley was the best chance of a pacey but far-from-open half. Iran, however, were a different team after the break, playing with pace on the flanks while amping up their aggression and intensity, hitting the post twice in a matter of seconds early in the second half. Some last-ditch Welsh defending and one fingertip save from Wayne Hennessey (who was rightly sent off late on) preserved a clean sheet until Rouzbeh Cheshmi rifled in a 99th-minute winner before Ramin Rezaeian sealed the win seconds later on the counter.

Key Performers:

Sardar Azmoun, 3 – Didn’t look fit having come into the tournament with an injury before only making the bench against England, and, while repeatedly receiving treatment throughout, he should have given Iran the lead on multiple occasions. A close-range header at stranded Wayne Hennessey being the most memorable example.

Gareth Bale, 3 – Talisman Gareth Bale was oddly absent here, making just 19 touches in the first hour, the joint lowest of all 22 starters, as the game seemed to happen around him. Although past his peak, plenty of players with Bale’s quality offer far more to the sport at 33 he travelled to Qatar badly lacking in form and rhythm. It’s beginning to catch up with him.

Wayne Hennessey, 6 – The Welsh keeper received the first sending-off of the Qatar World Cup after a long ball in behind saw Hennessey race off his line only to miss his kick and bulldoze into an Iran forward as the last man. He had been solid up to that point with some commanding handling and one flying fingertip save.

Ramin Rezaeian, 7 – Defended passionately in the first half with Wales on top and tore forward in the second period as a persistent attacking outlet. His final sortie saw him round off a late counter to dink home a second goal over Danny Ward to seal the win for Iran.

Wayne Hennessey, 6
Chris Mepham, 6
Joe Rodon, 5
Ben Davies, 6
Connor Roberts, 5
Neco Williams, 6
Ethan Ampadu, 4
Aaron Ramsey, 4
Harry Wilson, 4
Gareth Bale, 3
Kieffer Moore, 6
Others: Johnson 4, James 4, Ward 4, Allen 4.

IRAN – 2 (Cheshmi 99, Rezaeian 101)
Hossein Hosseini, 6
Ramin Rezaeian, 7
Morteza Pouraliganji, 5
Majid Hosseini, 5
Milad Mohammadi, 5
Ali Gholizadeh, 6
Ahmad Nourollahi, 5
Saeed Ezatolahi, 5
Ehsan Hajsafi, 5
Sardar Azmoun, 3
Mehdi Taremi, 4
Others: Ansarifard 6, Karimi 6, Jahanbakhsh 5, Torabi 6, Cheshmi 7.

2022 World Cup, Group B, 25/11/22


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