Rouzbeh Cheshmi scored eight minutes into added time to end a tense stalemate with Wales and put Iran on course for a 2-0 Group B win.
Cheshmi’s strike from outside the box was just beyond the diving reach of Wales substitute keeper Danny Ward, who was pressed into action when Wayne Hennessey was sent off in the 86th minute.
Ramin Rezaeian added a second goal in the dying seconds and Iran celebrated wildly as some of the Welsh players fell on the pitch in disbelief.
The game was still in the balance when Hennessy was shown a red card, after a VAR check, in the 86th minute for a high challenge on Mehdi Taremi outside his penalty area.
Hennessy became the first player to be sent off at Qatar 2022, and only the third goalkeeper in World Cup finals history.
Gareth Bale has made a record 110th appearance for Wales but the Welsh have looked slow.
They might have fallen behind earlier when Iran touched both posts within seconds.
First Sardar Azmoun ran clear, only to shoot against the right post, then Ali Gholizadeh rolled the follow up against the other post.
Finally, Azmoun headed that rebound straight at Hennessey.
Wales’ best effort was a high shot from defender Ben Davies, which was knocked down by the goalkeeper.
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