Frontline duo Amir-Arsalan Motahari and Mehdi Qayedi scored in each half as Esteghlal beat Aluminium Arak 2-0 in the Persian Gulf Pro League at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on Monday.
Motahari ended a seven-game drought in the 38th minute and fired home a right-footed effort into the top of the net, before substitute Cheick Diabaté put Qayedi one-on-one with the goal in the 73rd minute as his low strike went in off the keeper’s hand.
The victory kept Mahmoud Fekri’s men on top of the table with 18 points, equal on points San’at Naft Abadan, which has played a game more than the Blues.
San’at Naft claimed a 2-0 win over Naft Masjed Soleyman at home earlier in the day.
Reza Khaleqifar gave Sirous Pourmousavi’s men the lead with 16 minutes into the first half, with Mehdi Zobeidi sealing the three points three minutes from normal time.
Also on Tuesday, Shahr Khodro ended a four-game winless streak, beating Saipa 1-0 at home, courtesy of an Amin Qasseminejad’s second-half goal.
In today’s fixtures, the defending champion Persepolis will take on Sepahan in a match the Isfahan-based club’s assistant coach Alireza Marzban – a former coach of Persepolis – called “Iranian Clasico”.
Persepolis is 10th with 10 points and has only managed to win two games in six.
Yahya Golmohammadi’s side is yet to win a game after the AFC Champions League final disappointment in December, having settled for two consecutive 1-1 draws away to Nassaji Mazandaran and then against Zob Ahan in Tehran last Thursday.
Seeking a fifth victory of the season, Sepahan will be counting on in-form striker Sajjad Shahbaz-Zadeh, who has scored eight goals in as many games to stand second in the topscoring chart.
Elsewhere in the league, Tractor plays away to Zob Ahan in Isfahan, while in Tehran, Paykan faces Nassaji.