With five rounds of games to spare in the Persian Gulf Pro League season, Persepolis and Sepahan seem to be the only contenders for the title.
Meanwhile at the other end of the table, four teams will be seeking to extend their stay at Iranian elite clubs’ competition beyond this season.
MEHR NEWS AGENCY
While Yahya Golmohammadi’s Persepolis are looking the lift the trophy for a record-extending fifth consecutive occasion, Sepahan legend Moharam Navidkia – in his debut season as manager – hopes to bring back the title to Isfahan for the first time in six years.
Persepolis lead the table with 54 points – two points clear of Sepahan – heading into the Tuesday’s fixture at Foolad Khuzestan.
The Tehran-based Reds will be facing a tough mission in the muggy weather of Ahvaz in southern Iran as Javad Nekounam’s Foolad are yet to suffer a home defeat – alongside Persepolis – this season.
Sepahan will travel to Tehran on Tuesday to square off against Mehdi Tartar’s 10th-placed Paykan, who have been undefeated in four out of their previous five matches, with the only loss coming against Saipa (3-0) as a result of Iranian federation’s Disciplinary Committee’s ruling, after Tartar’s team wrongfully made an extra substitution.
After Tuesday’s matches, Persepolis will be taking on Aluminium Arak at home, before a trip to Mashinsazi is followed by a home tie against Tractor and a last-week battle at Paykan.
Sepahan, meanwhile, will face San’at Naft Abadan in Isfahan, and then play away to Padideh Khorasan, who beat Navidkia’s men 3-1 in the reverse fixture.
The last two rounds will see Sepahan play strugglers Zob Ahan in the Isfahan derby, before a massive encounter in Tehran against third-placed Esteghlal.
With Mashinsazi all but relegated, Naft Masjed Soleyman, Saipa, Nassaji Mazandaran, and Zob Ahan will be looking to avoid joining the rock-bottom side in the second-tier league next season.
It will be a closely-fought contest among the four teams as only six points separate them before this week’s fixtures.
Naft – 12th in the 16-team table with 28 points – and Nassaji (25 points) will be closely watching today’s match in Isfahan between Zob Ahan – second from bottom with 22 points – and Saipa, who are equal on points with Nassaji with a superior goal difference.
Mahmoud Fekri’s Naft will play away to Padideh on Tuesday, with Nassaji facing San’at Naft in Abadan.
Another possible decider will see Naft host Zob Ahan next week, before Fekri takes on his former team Esteghlal in the following matchday.
Golgohar Sirjan (H) and Aluminium Arak (A) will be Naft’s final two opponents of the season.
Saipa will face Esteghlal at home next week and then travel to Golgohar with Aluminium (H) and Tractor (A) also on their schedule.
Nassaji will host Padideh next week, followed by a decisive encounter against Zob Ahan, and play Esteghlal (H) and Golgohar (A).
Zob Ahan’s last game of the season comes at home against Mes Rafsanjan.