The Persian Gulf Pro League leader Esteghlal suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against Saipa at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on Saturday.
Hossein Maleki fired in the winner from the edge of the box four minutes after the interval and goalkeeper Mohammad-Hossein Akbar-Monadi produced a Man-of-the-Match performance as the Tehran-based Blues conceded only a second league defeat this season, with the previous one coming in a 2-1 loss to Foolad Khuzestan in their second match of the campaign.
Mahmoud Fekri’s men still sit atop the table, one point clear of San’at Naft Abadan, but could see the southern Iranian side overtake them with a victory over Sepahan today.
Saipa, meanwhile, moved up to seventh in the standing.
Earlier in the day, Tractor bounced back from last Monday’s home defeat against Esteghlal with a massive 2-1 victory at Amir Qalenoei’s Golgohar Sirjan.
Ehsan Hajsafi gave the visitor the lead in the 43rd minute.
The Iranian international dribbled past a couple of Golgohar players before his left-foot strike in the box found the bottom-right corner.
Younes Shakeri pulled the home side level in the 65th minute, heading home a Saeid Sadeqi’s corner-kick, but in-form striker Mohammad Abbaszadeh restored the one-goal cushion for the Tabriz-based club 10 minutes later, tapping in from close range for his seventh goal of the campaign.
The victory lifted Tractor to fourth in the table, equal on points with third-place Sepahan and three adrift of the top, while Golgohar remains in eighth spot.