Hennessey sent off for karate kick as Wales’ World Cup hopes hang by a thread

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    Wayne Hennessey was sent off while Wales' World Cup hopes hang by a thread after last-gasp defeat to Iran.

    Goalkeeper Hennessey was initially shown yellow for a challenge on Mehdi Taremi though it was checked by VAR with the referee swiftly overturning the decision.

    In a tackle with shades of Harald Schumacher's horror challenge, Hennessey clattered the Iran player with a high knee. And while there was debate over whether he should have been shown red for denying a goalscoring opportunity, the manner of the foul was enough to dismiss the keeper.

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    Former Wales defender Danny Gabbidon said: "Wayne Hennessey can have no complaints. A big moment in the game."

    And substitute goalkeeper Danny Ward could do nothing to stop Rouzbeh Cheshmi's stunning last-gasp strike. Though there was still time to Ramin Rezaeian to double Iran's lead.

    It was nothing less than they deserved with Wales now sitting on one point after two World Cup matches.

    Iran sit on three while England, who face USA on Friday evening, also sit on three points. USA drew with Wales in their opening game.

    Iran thought they had taken the lead against Wales in the opening few minutes with a well worked piece of play, though Ali Gholizadeh was ruled offside following a VAR check.

    Iran, who were beaten 6-2 by England in their opening encounter, then struck the woodwork twice in a matter of seconds in the second half with Sardar Azmoun the unlucky man on both occasions.

    Though Iran never stopped and, once Hennessey was shown red, they piled more pressure on with Cheshmi's stunning strike no less than they deserved.

    Wales captain Gareth Bale said: “We are gutted, there is no other way to say it. We fought until the last second and we need to go again.

    “We are all gutted but we have to pick ourselves up straight away. It is going to be difficult for us for sure. We will have to see.

    “What can I say? We recover and we have to go again.”

    While former Wales striker Ian Rush admitted Iran deserved their victory.

    “Second half was like a cup game, both teams needed to win it,” Rush told the BBC.

    “Wales gave it 100 per cent but it was a lack of finishing and second half Iran were the better team.”

    Ex-Wales defender Ashley Williams added: “Wales gave it everything like they always do.

    “We probably didn’t create enough and didn’t have enough chances on the Iranian goal. I’m gutted for the boys.”

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