News ID: 318633
Published: 0304 GMT December 11, 2021

Persian Gulf Pro League roundup: Leaders win, Persepolis held by Havadar

Persian Gulf Pro League roundup: Leaders win, Persepolis held by Havadar

Aluminium Arak players celebrate a 1-0 victory over Fajr Sepasi in Arak, central Iran, on December 10, 2021.

Sports Desk

The ninth round of matches at the Persian Gulf Pro League on Thursday and Friday saw top three in the table win their matches while defending champion Persepolis was held to a 2-2 draw at home against Havadar.

Esteghlal and Mes Rafsanjan also walked away with the three points against Paykan and Tractor respectively to keep in touch with the leading pack.

In Mashhad, Abolfazl Akasheh gave bottom side Padideh – chasing a first win of the season – a surprise lead against Amir Qalenoei’s Golgohar Sirjan on the hour mark, only to see his strike canceled out five minutes later by Saeed Sadeqi, before Reza Shekari, who had assisted the equalizer with a cheeky lob, sealed the three points for the visiting side in the 71st minute.

The result saw Golgohar move atop the table – equal on 19 points with second-placed Sepahan and Aluminium Arak, which both came out 1-0 winners against San’at Naft Abadan and Fajr Sepasi.

Iran’s under-23 captain Yassin Salmani went past a couple of San’at Naft defenders with 24 minutes into the game before putting the ball into the bottom-left corner through the legs of goalkeeper Ahamd Gohari, who still produced a man-of-the-match performance to deny Moharram Navidkia’s men on several occasions.

In Arak, Rasoul Khatibi’s men were unlucky to hit the post twice but when Mohammad-Amin Asadi’s effort came off the woodwork for a third time Mahmoud Qaed-Rahmati was first to the loose ball to score an 80th-minute winner for Aluminium.

Esteghlal manager Farhad Majidi was delighted to see his team end a streak of five draws with an emphatic 3-0 victory at Paykan to stay two points adrift of the top.

Center-back Siavash Yazdani opened the account for the Tehran-based Blues in the 32nd minute, tapping in from a close range on a corner-kick.

Mohammad Daneshgar’s 74th-munute header extended the lead and substitute striker Amir-Arsalan Motahhari rounded off the victory with five minutes left on the clock, when he turned goalwards to convert with a first touch on a Zobeir Nik-Nafs cross.

At Tehran’s Azadi Stadium, newly-promoted Havadar came within touching distance of the biggest upset of the season, but a Siamak Nemati’s deflected header salvaged a point for Yahya Golmohammadi’s Persepolis.

Seyyed Mohammad Hosseini put the visiting side in front in the 39th minute – a first away goal of the season for Havadar – but Farshad Faraji drew the Reds level with a superb header two minutes later.

Persepolis still fills hard done by the referee, as Havadar’s second goal – nine minutes after the break – seemingly came off Mohammad-Javad Mohammadi’s hand.

This was a fourth draw of the campaign for Persepolis, which is now overtaken by Mes Rafsanjan for the fifth spot of the table.

A five-goal thriller on Friday saw Mes beat Tractor 3-2 at home to go level on points with Esteghlal.

League top scorer Godwin Mensha converted from the spot in the 32nd minute for his sixth goal of the season.

Tractor’s Abolfazl Razzaqpour leveled the scoreline in the 63rd minute, but it took Mes only two minutes to restore the lead through Majid Aliyari, before Faraz Emam-Ali put Mohammad Rabiei’s side on the verge of a fourth successive win in the 84th minute – 10 minutes after coming off the bench.

Mohamamd Qanbari’s stoppage-time consolation proved too little, too late for Tractor, which suffered a second defeat in five outings under new Croatian manager Zvonimir Soldo.

Elsewhere, Ayanda Patosi’s first-half opener for Foolad Khuzestan was canceled out by Nassaji Mazandaran’s Hassan Najafi in the second period as the two sides shared the spoils in Ahvaz, while a similar scoreline saw home side Naft Masjed Soleyman and Zob Ahan play to a draw.

Naft’s veteran Iraqi midfielder Karrar Jassim scored his first goal on his return to the Iranian football, with Mohammad Khodabandelou equalizing for Zob Ahan.


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