By Ryann Yap

With the United States' Final 16 ticket on the line, Christian Pulisic drained a bittersweet score to end Iran’s campaign on Wednesday (PhST) at the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group B in Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Photo Courtesy of Le Monde

Approaching the 38-minute mark, USA’s Pulisic latched onto the Iranian defense en route to a 1-0 advantage. However, the unsung hero banged his abdominal section against opposing goalie Alireza Beiranvand and was ruled out for the rest of the game. 

According to USA Coach Gregg Berhalter, Pulisic was taken to the hospital right at the end of the game for precaution purposes.

Though losing a key player, the United States kept their head straight to force Iran pointless, due to their concrete defense even after the Pulisic incident.

With the triumphant feat, the US paved their redemption arc after falling short at the hands of the Iranians, 2-1, in their group stage at the 1998 World Cup.

The 24-year-old Pulisic charged an aerial header at the 10:31 mark, but Beiranvand easily denied America's attempt to put numbers on the scoreboard.

Beiranvand pumped up the roar for Iran as he displayed a solid goalkeeping outing after denying another US attempt by a Timothy Weah header in the 27:09 time frame.

Eventually, Weah overkicked the ball with 32:44 minutes spent on the game, keeping the scores empty right before Pulisic listed a goal in the next five minutes.  

Iran’s Ramih Rezaeian had a clear plan to even up the score right at the 51:10-minute mark, but was heavily guarded by Dest to keep the advantage in favor of the United States.

At 64:09 of game time, Iran lost their footing on thin ice as Saman Ghoddos missed an open trajectory for a goal after miscalculating their opportunity.

In the midst of their last chance, Iranian Morteza Pouralinganji misdirected a header received from a free-kick that led their team scoreless after 90 minutes of play. 

The USA will now head on to the knockout stage of the league, where they will face a do-or-die match against the Netherlands this coming weekend. 

Edited by Quian Vencel Galut