Persepolis manager Yahya Golmohammadi said his side missed the fans after the Reds won away at Naft Masjed Soleyman 2-1 to claim the record fourth Persian Gulf Pro League title on Friday.
Foolad Khuzestan’s late 2-1 victory over Zob Ahan on Thursday meant that Persepolis had to win on Friday to secure the title with four games to spare.
Ali Alipour headed home Mehdi Shiri’s fine cross in the 39th minute for his ninth goal of the campaign before wunderkind Mehdi Abdi kept his cool in a one-on-one situation to double the Reds’ lead with 13 minutes into the second half.
Hossein Ebrahimi pulled one back from the spot for Mehdi Tartar’s men in the 71st minute to make a nervy closing stage for the Reds but they hang on to clinch the victory.
Persepolis manager Yahya Golmohammadi (L) celebrates after his side beat Naft Masjed Soleyman 2-1 to win the Persian Gulf Pro League title in Masjed Soleyman, southern Iran, on July 24, 2020.
“We won a lot of games this season without our fans in the stadium and we wish those victories could have happened in front of them,” Golmohammadi said after the game.
Football fans have not been allowed into the stadiums – due to the coronavirus outbreak – following the league resumption in June.
“But we felt their presence and positive vibes by our side all the way through,” added the 49-year-old Iranian who parted ways with Shahr Khodro to replace Gabriel Calderon in mid-season after the Argentine left his job in December over a financial dispute with the club.
“It was so tough to play in this hot weather and we were missing some key players but the rest of the team sacrificed themselves to make our fans happy,” former Iranian international said.
Golmohammadi dedicated the title to the fans, former Persepolis players, and the family of the Reds’ late skipper Hadi Norouzi.
Friday’s triumph also made Persepolis the most decorated side in the history of the competition with six titles since the Persian Gulf Pro League was established in 2001.
Persepolis still has the chance to repeat last year’s double as it will have to play in the Hazfi Cup (Iranian domestic cup) semifinal – with the draw and date yet to be announced.
Golmohammadi’s men will also resume their AFC Champions League campaign in mid-September, where they stand third in Group C of the competition with one point after two rounds of play.