News ID: 324086
Published: 1030 GMT September 11, 2022

Persian Gulf Pro League roundup: Locadia bags brace as Persepolis salvages win against 10-man Naft

Persian Gulf Pro League roundup: Locadia bags brace as Persepolis salvages win against 10-man Naft
MILAD ESMAEILI/ISNA
Persepolis striker Jürgen Locadia celebrates after scoring during a 2-1 victory over Naft Masjed Soleyman in the Persian Gulf Pro League in Masjed Soleyman, southern Iran, on September 10, 2022.

Sports Desk

Jürgen Locadia scored a second-half double as Persepolis came from behind to beat Naft Masjed Soleyman 2-1 at the Persian Gulf Pro League.

Earlier on Saturday, defending champion Esteghlal returned to winning ways, thanks to a 3-1 victory over Nassaji Mazandaran at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium while Sepahan was held to a goalless stalemate against Aluminium Arak at home and fell further off the pace.

Meanwhile, a Reza Shekari’s sublime free-kick in the ninth minute saw Golgohar Sirjan walk away with a 1-0 victory over Paykan in Tehran to remain in the second place of the table – two points adrift of Persepolis.

 

Dutch double

 

A late acquisition from Bundesliga club Bochum in the summer, Locadia has wasted no time in proving to be the final piece of the jigsaw for manager Yahya Golmohammadi, as the Dutch striker is now the topscorer in the new Iranian top-flight season with four goals in as many games.

The Tehran-based Reds clearly failed to get their game going in the first half and found themselves trailing for the first time this season when ex-Persepolis midfielder Saman Nariman-Jahan opened the scoring with an exquisite half volley from behind the box with 11 minutes into the game.

Locadia, who saw a goal ruled out for offside before the break, drew Persepolis level from the spot in the 54th minute, after he was brought down in the box by Milad Baqeri, which to Naft center-back receiving his marching orders for a second booking.

Locadia’s second of the night was truly of different class.

The ex-Brighton player controlled the ball with his chest on a Danial Esmaeilifar’s cross and turned goalwards before his first-touch strike found the bottom-left corner.

The fourth win of the season saw Persepolis – chasing a sixth title in seven seasons – stay atop the table with 14 points.

 

Relief for Blues

 

New Esteghlal head coach Ricardo Sa Pinto had already found himself under pressure after back-to-back draws against Naft and Paykan and was desperate for his team to get the three points against Nassaji, which had kept three clean sheets against the Blues in the league and Hazfi Cup last season.

The Portuguese was relieved to see his team break the deadlock with only four minutes into the contest, courtesy of Payman Babaei’s first goal for the club.

Kevin Yamga doubled Esteghlal’s lead from the spot right before the interval when Ali Shojaei handled the ball in the box.

Things got worse for the visiting side as Amir-Mehdi Jan-Maleki received a second yellow in the 48th minute and Mehdi Mohebbi all but secured the win two minutes later, tapping in from close range into top corner.

Ayoub Kalantari pulled one back through a penalty kick with nine minutes from normal time but it was too little too late as Hamid Motahari conceded a second defeat in six games in his managerial debut season.

Elsewhere, Reza Asadi scored a second stoppage-time goal of the season to help Tractor edge San’at Naft Abadan 1-0 in Tabriz and move up to sixth.

Mohammad Rabiei’s Mes Rafsanjan celebrated a first victory of the season – after five successive draws – coming out on top against Havadar at home.

Mehdi Hosseini and Hossein Karimzadeh scored in the space of three minutes in the second half for Mes and Ezzatollah Pourqaz netted a consolation for the visitors.

Mes Kerman and Zob Ahan shared the points in a goalless encounter in Kerman.

 

 

   
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