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Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey paid the ultimate price for a reckless challenge on Iran star Mehdi Taremi with the referee brandishing a red card. Hennessey had come to Wales’ rescue throughout the match with a number of quality saves to keep his side in the match.
But the 35-year-old suffered a moment of madness towards the end of the match which resulted in him being shown the first red card of the 2022 World Cup. Taremi pounced on a long ball forward, but Hennessey had committed himself to racing out of his box to make a challenge.
He mistimed it terribly though with Taremi getting their first and Hennessey clattering into the Iran forward. Iran players immediately surrounded the referee demanding a red card, but the match official quickly had a yellow in his hand.
It looked as though the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper was going to escape being sent off. But VAR officials urged the referee to review the footage on the pitchside screen, resulting in huge cheers from the Iran fans.
And he didn’t take long looking back on the pictures of Hennessey’s challenge to overturn his original decision. Hennessey looked shocked as he saw the referee come back onto the pitch to pull out the red card.
Leicester star Danny Ward was swiftly brought on by Rob Page with Aaron Ramsey sacrificed in midfield. From that point, it was a case of hanging on for a draw for Wales as Iran piled forward to take advantage of the extra man.
But they could do nothing to prevent Rouzbeh Cheshmi scoring a screamer to put Iran ahead deep into stoppage time. The 29-year-old picked up the ball on the edge of the box and let fly from range with his effort flying past Ward into the bottom right corner.
Wales players simultaneously dropped to the floor as Cheshmi was mobbed by his team-mates to spark wild celebrations. Page’s side then threw everything they had going forward to find a late equaliser, but left themselves exposed on the break.
Iran quickly countered in the dying seconds of the match with Ramin Rezaeian chipping in with Iran’s second of the game to compound Wales’ misery. Wales now sit bottom of Group B and need a win against England on Tuesday to give themselves a chance of qualifying for the knockout stages.
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