Persepolis and Sepahan will be looking to put the Hazfi Cup disappointment behind them when they resume their Persian Gulf Pro League campaigns on Tuesday.
Yahya Golmohammadi’s Persepolis will play away to bottom-side Mashinsazi in Tabriz, while Sepahan visit Padideh in Mashhad.
The top two in the league, and the only realistic hopefuls for the title, were knocked out of the Iranian domestic cup last Thursday.
The Tehran-based Reds suffered a shootout defeat against arch-rivals Esteghlal after a goalless stalemate at the Azadi Stadium.
Sepahan was beaten by Foolad Khuzestan in similar fashion, having played to a 1-1 draw by the end of extra time in Ahvaz.
Persepolis will hope to maintain their two-point lead on top but Mashinsazi, despite being relegated, have proved to be tough opponents in recent weeks, falling to 1-0 defeats against Sepahan and Foolad either side of a 3-0 victory over Mes Rafsanjan.
Moharram Navidkia’s Sepahan, meanwhile, can’t afford to fall further behind in the title race, as there will be only two rounds of matches remaining after Tuesday’s fixtures.
Padideh, whose run of three consecutive wins came to end with a 1-0 loss to Nassaji Mazandaran last time out, will put in a last-ditch effort for a top-four finish and a possible spot in next season’s AFC Champions League.
Sepahan were stunned at home by Tuesday’s opponents in the reverse fixture, when Padideh came out victorious by a 3-1 scoreline in January.
Battle in bottom
The race at the other end of the table will be even tighter as four teams will be looking to avoid joining Mashinsazi in next year’s second-tier league.
In a decisive battle between strugglers, Zob Ahan – three points above the relegation zone – will host Nassaji, who are three points clear of Zob Ahan.
Mahmoud Fekri, who was sacked by Esteghlal in mid-season, will have his own motivations when his Naft Masjed Soleyman – one point behind Nassaji – square off against the Tehran-based Blues at the Azadi Stadium.
Saipa – second from bottom – will play away to Golgohar Sirjan, who are still in contention with a top-four finish.
Elsewhere, Aluminium Arak will host Tractor, with San’at Naft Abadan and Mes Rafsanjan going head-to-head in Abadan.
Paykan and Foolad will also meet in Tehran.
All matches will kick off on 21:15 local time (1645 GMT).