Sepahan head coach Moharram Navidkia praised his team for bouncing back against Mes Rafsanjan in a Persian Gulf Pro League encounter on Sunday which saw league leader come out victorious 5-1.
Mohammadreza Soleimani gave the visitor an early lead with just nine minutes into the game but Giorgi Gvelesiani, Mohammadreza Hosseini, Omid Nourafkan, and Sajjad Shahbaz-zadeh scored in the space of 13 minutes in the first half, before substitute Yassin Salmani added a late fifth as Sepahan moved back atop the league table.
“We played a good football against Mes. The players did a good job to bounce back despite conceding an early goal,” said Navidkia in the post-match press conference, adding, “My team managed to press Mes players up front and keep them in their ground in the first half.”
However, the 38-year-old manager still believes his team was far from perfect against Mes.
“We made mistakes in dealing with their free-kicks and struggled against their counterattacks.”
When asked why his team took the foot off the pedal after the break, Navidkia said his men are yet to reach the maturity and mindset to play with the same momentum all over the match.
Sunday’s victory meant Sepahan is three points clear of Persepolis on top, having played a game more, and has a superior goal difference over its rival with seven matches to spare.
“As I said, there are still problems we need to resolve. We’ll have to make minimum mistakes in the next seven games if we are to win the title,” Navidkia acknowledged.
Elsewhere in the league, Paykan beat Saipa 2-1.
Arman Qassemi scored from the spot with three minutes left from normal time to seal the victory after Saipa’s Seyyed Abolfazl Jalali had canceled out a Majid Eidi’s opener in the second half.
Mehdi Tartar’s team, however, might be deprived of the three points as it mistakenly made six substitutions.
Having made four changes in the second period, Tartar made double substitutes in the seventh minute of stoppage time as Reza Habibzadeh and Alireza Koushki replaced Hossein Pour-Amini and Esameil Babaei.
Also on Sunday, a 92nd-minute strike by Fardin Sabet saw Naft Masjed Soleiman beat bottom-side Mashinsazi 1-0 at home.