Last-minute goal gives Spain top spot

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Spain secured top spot in Group B of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia thanks to a late strike from substitute Iago Aspas. Bayern midfielder Thiago started for the 2010 champions in the final group game against Morocco but despite their dominance could only muster a 2-2 draw. Spain, however, finish top of the standings thanks to their superior goal tally ahead of European champions Portugal, who drew 1-1 with Iran. The Spaniard will face hosts Russia in the last 16 on Sunday in Moscow.

La Roja dominated the game in front of 33,500 fans in Kaliningrad, but surprisingly fell behind early on when Khalid Boutaib took advantage of a defensive mix-up. Spain responded immediately through Isco and continued to control the game. However, they could not find a way past their spirited North African neighbours.

Coach Fernando Hierro looked to add greater attacking impetus in the closing stages, sending on Marco Asensio for Thiago in the 74th minute, but Morocco struck first when Youssef En-Nesyri powered home a header from a corner with 10 minutes remaining. Substitute Aspas came to the rescue though in injury time to secure a point with a goal that was only allowed after VAR confirmed he was onside. Almost at the exact same moment, Portugal conceded a penalty to hand Spain top spot in the group.


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