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“In Off The VAR” – Spain Win Group B With Help From Injury-Time VAR Decision

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KALININGRAD, RUSSIA - JUNE 25: Iago Aspas of Spain scores his sides second goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group B match between Spain and Morocco at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 25, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

Iago Aspas scored a stoppage-time equaliser – with the aid of VAR – as Spain scraped an unconvincing draw with Morocco to top Group B and secure a World Cup last-16 tie against hosts Russia.

Youssef En Nesyri – who plays in Spain for Malaga – looked to have won it for Herve Renard’s side when he powered in a superb header from fellow substitute Faycal Fajr’s corner.

But Aspas flicked in Dani Carvajal’s low cross to make it 2-2, with referee Ravshan Irmatov initially disallowing the goal before overturning the decision.

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Spain won the group on goals scored as Portugal were held to a 1-1 draw by Iran – but had a tough night as they extended their unbeaten run to 23 games.

A dreadful mix-up between Andres Iniesta and Sergio Ramos had allowed Khalid Boutaib to stride through and give Morocco a surprise 14th-minute lead.

Iniesta made amends five minutes later by helping create a sublime equaliser, exchanging passes with Diego Costa and getting to the byeline before cutting back for Isco to steer high into the net.

But Spain looked wobbly in defence when pressed by a committed, aggressive Morocco side, with Boutaib denied by the legs of David de Gea after Hakim Ziyech’s quick throw sent him clear.

Nordin Amrabat was desperately unlucky not to score in the second half as his searing shot came back off the angle of post and bar with De Gea motionless.

Isco was denied a second goal when his header was diverted wide by Romain Saiss – playing instead of dropped captain Medhi Benatia – before the late drama.

Youssef En Nesyri outjumped Sergio Ramos to put the Moroccons in the lead before Aspas flicked the equalizer home in injury time.

Spain now face hosts Russia in Moscow in the last 16 tie on Sunday.

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