News ID: 320352
Published: 1037 GMT March 01, 2022

Persian Gulf Pro League roundup: Esteghlal held by Nassaji; Persepolis cuts gap on top to three points

Persian Gulf Pro League roundup:  Esteghlal held by Nassaji; Persepolis cuts gap on top to three points

Persepolis striker Mehdi Abdi (L) celebrates after scoring his team’s third goal during a 3-1 victory over Mes Rafsanjan at the Azadi Stadium, Tehran, Iran, on February 28, 2022.

Sports Desk

There was another twist in the Persian Gulf Pro League title race on Monday as Esteghlal’s six-game winning streak came to an end at the hands of Nassaji Mazandaran, while Persepolis beat Mes Rafsanjan to move back to within three points off the top.

In Mashhad, which currently plays host to Nassaji’s home fixtures, former Persepolis goalkeeper Alireza Haqiqi delivered a man-of-the-match performance to keep the Tehran-based Blues at bay as league leader was held to a goalless draw against the northern Iranian club.

The result extended Esteghlal’s unbeaten run to a remarkable 20 games since the Iranian league kicked off last October but head coach Farhad Majidi will regard this as two points dropped in the club’s quest for a first league title since 2013 – ahead of tough encounters against Gol Gohar Sirjan, San’at Naft Abadan, and Persepolis in the space of 12 days, starting Sunday.

Persepolis made the most of its archrival’s stumble later in the day, walking away with a massive 3-1 victory over fourth-placed Mes at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium.

Young striker Mehdi Abdi and midfielder Kamal Kamyabinia scored either side of a Majid Aliyari’s equalizer for the visiting side in the first half, before Abdi sealed all three points for Yahya Golmohammadi’s men with his second strike of the night in the 74th minute, keeping the Reds’ bid for a record-extending sixth successive title on track with 10 games to spare.

Elsewhere, head coach Moharram Navidkia made a dramatic return to Sepahan’s bench – days after he had announced his resignation following last Wednesday’s goalless draw against Zob Ahan – only to see his side share the points with Tractor in a 2-2 draw in Tabirz.

Iranian international fullback Omid Nourafkan gave Sepahan the lead in the 40th minute but Peyman Babaei drew the home side level with a superb strike from behind the box right before the interval.

Mohammad Abbas-zadeh put the host, which had Mohammad Nosrati as caretaker manager in the dugout, in front with his left-footed free kick in the 71st minute, as the ball came off the crossbar to bounce over the line before returning to pitch.

Winter signing Milad Jahani netted with one minute left from normal time for Sepahan as a fourth draw in six games kept the Isfahan-based club 13 points off the top of the table.

 Gol Gohar’s impressive run continued with a fifth win in 10 unbeaten matches – a 2-1 home triumph over San’at Naft.

Saeed Sadeqi, probably the league’s best player in recent weeks, bagged a double to cancel out a Taleb Rikani’s opener for Alireza Mansourian’s side.

San’at Naft skipper and top scorer Rikani received his marching orders in the sixth minute of the stoppage time and will miss Sunday’s home game against Persepolis.

The victory saw Gol Gohar overtake Paykan for the fifth place – one point behind Mes.

Amir Qalenoei’s men would have been third in the table – seven points off the top – had it not been for a seven-point deduction imposed by the Disciplinary Committee of the Iranian Football Federation due to the club fielding an unauthorized player – Gabonese Eric Bocoum – in three league fixtures earlier in the season.

Two late goals in Shiraz saw Fajr Sepasi play to a 1-1 draw at home against Paykan.

Payman Ranjbari broke the deadlock for the visiting side in the 82nd minute, before Milad Kamandani equalized 10 minutes later to keep the host three points above the relegation zone.

Padideh edged ever closer to relegation after a 2-1 defeat against Zob Ahan in Isfahan.

Mohammad Qoreishi and Saeed Baqerpasand scored in the space of six minutes for the home side late in the first half, with Mojtaba Bijan bagging a 92nd-minute consolation for the rock-bottom side.

Foolad Khuzestan’s home game against Havadar and Naft Masjed Soleyman’s match against Aluminium Arak finished goalless.



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