Aluminium Arak inflicted a first defeat of the season on Persepolis, coming from behind to beat the Persian Gulf Pro League champion 2-1 on Monday.
Later on the day, a late winner from Mohammadreza Mahdizadeh saw Sepahan beat San’at Naft 2-1 in Abadan to overtake the southern Iranian club for the second spot of the table.
Sajjad Shahbaz-Zadeh gave the visitor the lead early in the game, lashing in a Daniyal Esmaeilifar’s cross with a timely side-footed strike to go top of the topscorers’ chart with 10 goals.
The home side had to wait till the 70th minute for an equalizer, when Ahmad Shari’atzadeh went clear of his marker with a quick turn toward the goal before his cool touch found the bottom-right corner.
However, it was the Isfahan-based club which got the last laugh as Mahdizadeh was the first to the ball following a keeper Hammed Fallahzadeh’s clearance on a corner-kick to head home from point blank.
The victory took Sepahan level on points with Esteghlal – both on 22 – with San’at Naft trailing the two sides by a single point.
Stunned in Arak
In Arak, Persepolis, unbeaten in the previous nine outings, got off to a flying start, with Kamal Kamyabinia heading in from an Ahmad Nourollahi’s corner-kick with seven minutes into the game.
The Reds, playing without first-choice center-backs Seyyed Jalal Hosseini and Hossein Kan’anizadegan, however, were stunned by a couple of similar goals inside 10 minutes before the interval.
Shahin Tavakkoli drew Aluminium level in the 20th minute as he jumped above the Reds defenders to head in the ball on an Omid Singh free-kick.
Another pinpoint cross from the same spot by Singh saw Hamed Pakdel put the home side in front with the back of his head.
Yahya Golmohammadi’s side desperately searched for an equalizer in the second half but the Aluminium’s backline displayed a solid performance, with the keeper Hossein Pourhamidi making heroic saves to deny Nourollahi, on a couple of occasions, and Siamak Nemati.
Persepolis is ninth in the table, seven points adrift of the top with two games in hand, while Aluminium jumped up to the 11th spot.
In the other league game on Monday, Ayanda Patosi scored in the fifth minute to lead Foolad Khuzestan to a 1-0 victory over bottom-side Mashinsazi in Tabriz.