FC Esteghlal wins 84th classical derby

TEHRAN, Feb. 12 (MNA) – Branko Ivanković has lost 84th derby when Persepolis should have won to bolster their first place, with FC Tractorsazi of Tabriz also hopeful to catch up with Persepolis, winning Zobahan FC of Isfahan on Saturday.

Few of the FC Esteghlal’s self-avowed fans and the most optimistic of them could have ever predicted a win for their azure-clad club; yet, Mansourian’s men became self-confident when they received the first goal early in the match through sticking to their style of not being demoralized in the face of their giant rival who sits triumphantly in the first place in the Persian Gulf League.

The early jubilation sent Persepolis fans elated when in 5th minute Mohsen Mosalman’s left-side cross received by Soroush Rafiei; a header was difficult for Mehd Rahmati to handle and Persepolis opened the account in the first half.

In 10th minute, Persepolis was close for the second when Mehdi Taremi’s header was out of the box the, assisted by Vahdi Amiri’s cross who get the pass from Hossein Mahini. This was FC Esteghlal’s Farshid Esmaili who snatched the ball out of careless Persepolis defense line; his uncontrollable shot was on the box and Beiranvand could not have surmount. Esteghlal equalized. In 20th minute, Persepolis was surprised again when Farshid Esmaili’s cross was complimentary to a header by Ali Ghorbani who hit the box far from Beiranvand’s hand.

Late in the first half, Persepolis could have almost equalized; but Ramin Rezaian missed the box sending the free kick out. The first half was a jubilation for FC Esteghlal; Omid Nourafkan found Kave Rezaei in a proper place for a left-footed artful shot; Persepolis was crushed. However, they went to the locker room with much hope to equalize in the second half.

Persepolis was the dominant side in the much of the second half, organizing indefinite numbers of attacks, yet no serious position was converted to net positions; Esteghlal was all defensive and had an eye on counterattacks, though not many of them was at the horizon since Persepolis had a heavy grip on ball ownership. Persepolis was close to close the gap in 87th minute when they hit haplessly the horizontal bar; the second chance was sent to corner by Rahmati.

Into the added times, Persepolis belatedly scored by Jalal Hosseini. Before scoring, Rahmati and Hosseini clashed over a fault. Rahmati received the yellow card by Alireza Faghani the referee, and when hit Hosseini, received second yellow and red card. FC Esteghlal thus secured an endeared win and now eyes the remaining 9 weeks of the Persian Gulf League, and follows FC Tractorsazi of Tabriz in the third place. They could bet on Persepolis’ future deviations on their much ambitious scheme of the winning the cup this season. FC Esteghlal recovered after early season’s poor performance which brought them to the mid to lower part of the classification. They have come a long way from those times when Alireza Mansourian the young manager had become popular with Esteghlal fandom for the feat.

SH/3905110

News Code 123506

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