VAR helps Spain claim draw with Morocco

Spain and Morocco played out to a 2-2 draw in their final Group B clash at the Kaliningrad Stadium on Monday, which saw the 2010 champions advance to the round of 16.

  • Spain 2 Morocco 2
  • Boutaib (15′) punishes defensive mix-up
  • Isco (20′) quickly restores parity
  • En-Nesyri (81′) puts Morocco back in front
  • Aspas (93′) backheel snatches draw

Match Summary

Goals from Isco and Iago Aspas were enough to hand La Furia Roja a share of the spoils against the Atlas Lions, who had twice gone ahead through Khalid Boutaib and Youssef En-Nesyri.

Full Report

Morocco began the game rock-bottom of Group B without a win from their first two games. While the odds were stacked against them, the North Africans shocked Spain when they took the lead on the quarter-hour mark.

Sergio Ramos was caught in possession on the halfway line by Boutaib, who carried the ball into the box before slotting through the legs of David de Gea.

Fernando Hierro’s side needed just five minutes to level matters and did so in typical Spanish style. A clever one-two on the edge of the box between Diego Costa and Andres Iniesta allowed the midfielder to get to the byline and cut the ball across goal for Isco, who finished emphatically into the roof of the net from six yards out.

The Moroccans alarmingly caught their opponents sleeping in the 25th minute and really should have restored their lead. A simple throw-in from just inside their own half sent Boutaib through on goal again, but De Gea came out to deny the goalscorer his second.

The Spaniards almost went into the break ahead when Isco’s 39th-minute corner was met by Sergio Busquets, but the Barcelona midfielder got too much under his effort and watched it sail over the bar.

The Atlas Lions knew that they were already out of the tournament, but were certainly not going to go down easily and 10 minutes after the restart went within inches of going back in front.

Karim El Ahmadi found Nordin Amrabat with a good ball into the inside right channel and the winger struck a right-footed shot across which started outside the goal but failed to come back enough and thundered off the upright.

Three minutes after the hour mark Spain were denied the lead by a brilliant goalline clearance from Romain Saiss. Busquets sent in a cross from the right wing and Isco rose highest at the far post, but Saiss read the danger brilliantly and headed the ball away for a corner.

Herve Renard’s men would regain their advantage nine minutes from time. Second-half substitutes combined when Faycal Fajr’s corner from the right was headed home by Youssef En-Nesyri to send the Moroccan fans into delirium.

Spain managed to snatch a draw in the last minute of the game with help from VAR. Dani Carvajal’s cross from the right was flicked into the back of the net by the heel of substitute Aspas, who made a clever run to the near post.