Sepahan and Esteghlal continued their winning streak to the start of new Persian Gulf Pro League season after beating Havadar and Tractor at home respectively.
In Isfahan, an 84th-minute winner by Danial Esmaeilifar saw Moharam Navidkia’s Sepahan walk away with a 1-0 victory over newly promoted Havadar on Saturday to stay atop the table with nine points.
Esteghlal, meanwhile, is trailing Sepahan on goal difference after substitute Amir-Arsalan Motahari headed home the winner with his first touch of the ball nine minutes after the break as Farhad Majidi’s men beat Tractor 1-0 at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.
The Tehran-based Blues could have doubled their lead with 20 minutes left from normal time, only to see Voria Ghafouri hit the bar from the spot – Esteghlal captain’s second penalty miss in three games.
Persepolis and Golgohar Sirjan will have the chance to go level on points with the league leaders, when they are in action on Monday.
Persepolis – seeking a record-extending sixth successive title – will play away to Rasoul Khatibi’s Aluminium Arak, which inflicted the only defeat of the campaign on Yahya Golmohammadi’s side last season.
Golgohar will host Nassaji Mazandaran.
Saturday’s results also saw Fajr Sepasi and Naft Masjed Soleyman collect first three points of the season.
Fajr Sepasi, which is back in the league for the first time in seven seasons, beat San’at Naft Abadan 2-0 away – courtesy of goals by Mohammad Kazemi and Erfan Ma’soumi – to bounce back from consecutive defeats in the first two fixtures.
Emad Mirjavan, meanwhile, netted a late winner as Naft Masjed Soleyman edged past the host Padideh 1-0 in Mashhad.
Also on Monday, under-pressure manager Abdollah Veisi will hope to see Foolad Khuzestan claim a first victory of the campaign when squaring off against Mes Rafsanjan at home.