It took until the 98th minute, but Iran finally broke down Wales in their World Cup group B clash on Friday - and they were helped by a wild red card for the Welsh goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.
Iran were far and away the better team throughout the game, but struggled to score against a Welsh defence hanging on for dear life. Hennessey made several crucial saves, and the Iranians hit the post on multiple occasions.
With little over five minutes left to go in the game, Iran's star player Mehdi Taremi was rushing into the opposition half when Wales keeper Hennessey came charging out of his goal and made a wild tackle. Hennessey raised his leg impressively high, and clattered into the Iranian forward long after the ball was gone. Though he was initially shown a yellow card, the referee ultimately made the right call with the assistance of VAR and sent the Welshman off.
Wayne Hennessey eventually saw red for this horrific challenge on Mehdi Taremi.
📺Watch live on @rte2 & @rteplayer - https://t.co/lu7hcoQqn8
📱 Live updates - https://t.co/9AY4kg8gqG#FIFAWorldCup #WALIRN pic.twitter.com/luXKbI4oxJ
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 25, 2022
It was about as clear cut a red card as you're likely to see, with Hennessey and his teammates having no arguments as the Nottingham Forest keeper walked off the pitch.
Wayne Hennessey: Kenny Cunningham had scarcely believable take on Welshman's red card
Incredibly, RTÉ pundit Kenny Cunningham did not believe that Wayne Hennessey deserved to be sent off for the challenge.
Cunningham appeared alongside Kevin Doyle on RTÉ's post-match analysis, and the pair disagreed on the game's decisive incident.
Even when shown the clip of Hennessey raising his leg to a dangerous height, Cunningham did not believe he had endangered Taremi, and said that the red card was harsh:
Cunningham: I thought the referee got it right first time around, it was a yellow card. He's given the red card for the nature of the tackle, he hasn't given it because he's the last man.
Doyle: Ah, come on.
Cunningham: He's actually looking to kick the ball here. He's not looking to tackle the Iranian centre forward, it's not a straight leg with studs showing - he's trying to kick that ball. He actually catches him with the outside of his thigh. If you're going to give a red card for that incident, you've got to be endangering the safety of the opponent, I don't think he's close to endangering the opponent.
Doyle: He nearly took his head off! Red card. I know Wayne well, good fella, wouldn't have meant it. He's not the quickest off his line, and there he was about three yards too slow. It wasn't that he just missed the ball by an inch or two, he missed it by about three yards.
Cunningham: But was he in danger of actually hurting the opponent?
Doyle: Yes! He was!
Cunningham: Well you're allowed to jump in the air, just because he's jumped in the air doesn't mean you're neccesarily out of control and potentially endangering the opponent. He's made contact with the side of his leg with the body of the Iranian player. I don't think that's red.
His fellow pundit Kevin Doyle, and host Peter Collins were in disbelief to hear Cunningham defending Wayne Hennessey after his crazy attempt at a tackle.