Week 7 of Persian Gulf Pro League has just ended, so Iran Team Melli head coach Carlos Queiroz named 17 players for a training camp in Armenia, in order to face Uzbekistan (6 Oct) and South Korea (11 Oct) in FIFA World Cup qualifying games.
The Portuguese coach did not invite Iranian footballers that play abroad – better known as Legionnaires – since they will join the National squad after their league matches.
The most awaited match of the week of course was Shahravard, the Tehran derby, refereed by Alireza Faghani: without injured Vahid Amiri, Persepolis shared one point with arch-rivals Esteghlal [read the full report]. Tractorsazi took advantage of the tie, reaching the Reds at top of the table, thanks to their successful trip at Zob Ahan home: Sina Ashouri scored the winner few minutes after Lebanese midfielder Ali Hamam had equalized.
A late goal by Mohammadreza Khanzadeh prevented a home defeat for FC MashhadSiahjamegan, denying what could be Saba Qom first win of the season. Mehdi Torabi is the new leader of Saipa, skilled in scoring vital goals in the final minutes (as in the previous game): the 22-years-old midfielder responded to Chimba leading goal for Gostaresh Foolad: the Brazilian striker is the only player to score among his squad. Sepahan beat away Mashinsazi, climbing standings and becoming 3rd: Isfahanis risked a late equalizer, after Ehsan Hajsafi missed a penalty at 86′, and two minutes later Saman Nariman Jahan hit the right goalpost.
With a goalless draw against Paykan at Shohada Stadium, Naft Tehran lose one position in the ranking. Esteghlal Khuzestan showed once more a very offensive attitude, taking the advantage against Sanat Naft, but again they could not end a match with a clean sheet, proving to be the most weak defence of the tournament.
In the last game of the week a penalty scored by Sasan Ansari helped Foolad Khuzestan to defeat Padideh and to leave the bottom. Persian Gulf Pro League 1395/96 identifies her champions best candidate in Tractorsazi and Persepolis, since both clubs are still unbeaten after 6 weeks. On the other side, Esteghlal Tehran proved to be ready to face high level opponents: Mansourian’s squad has improved despite a bad start, and maybe new arrival Leandro Padovani will make better the Blues defence.
No one scored in 83rd Shahravard, the Tehran derby, in week 6 of Persian Gulf Pro League 1395/96. Alireza Faghani was appointed as referee, thanks to his international experience: he refereed 2015 Asian Cup final and men’s Olympic football final at Rio 2016. A victory could be vital for both teams, but for completely different reasons. Persepolis wanted to strenghten their top leading after the last-week tie with Tractorsazi, the latter only two points under Branko Ivankovic’s club; instead, third-bottom Esteghlal searched for their first win in this difficult season, and coach Ali Reza Mansourian knew that a defeat meant a goodbye.
No surprises in the start lining ups, except for Blues as Bakhtyar Rahmani was benched; Reds squad was without injured Vahid Amiri, while Ramin Rezaeian watched the game from the bench since he has come back recently following a short spell in Turkey.
Few hours before the match, it was reported a rumour from Persepolis players, who said that Esteghlal hired a wizard in order to win the Shahravard. Obviously on bleachers hooligans have started to provoke each other already previous the kick-off.
Special guest Carlos Queiroz, who watched the match with his technical staff of Iran Team Melli.
Persepolis had a good start, attacking immediately with Mosalman and Alipour, causing their opponents to foul: after only 12 minutes Omid Ebrahimi received a yellow card due to his foul on Ahmadzadeh. Six minutes later a dangerous right-footed shot by Mehdi Taremi was rejected by Mkoyan shoulder: the Aghaye Gol (top scorer) of the last season at 23′ threatened again his rivals and was fouled by Farshid Bagheri just outside of Esteghlal penalty area; the following free kick ended on Blues defenders. When Farshid Esmaeili fell down after a touch by Mosalman, Mansourian became angry, protesting beside the pitch. But again Taremi conquered a free kick, this time from 65 feet (20 metres): Omid Alishah direct shot found the opponents wall.
The mood difference of the two coaches was clear: Mansourian continuously calling his guys; Branko queitly watching the game.
With 5 minutes before half time, Vouria Ghafouri woke up and dribbled two Reds on the right of Persepolis penalty area, however there was no teammate to benefit from his pass; Esteghlal advanced one more time with Ebrahimi, tackled by Kamyabinia, but Faghani said to keep continuing to play.
In the opening of 2nd half Kaveh Rezaei scared Ghermez-ha fans, as he attempted twice to score in front of Beiranvand, since the goalkeeper has lost the ball after the first save. Esteghlal returned determined from the break, with Ghafouri and Khosro Heydari incursions on the right side, in order to cross for Rezaei: at 54′ S. Jalal Hosseini headed away, at 56′ Jaber Ansari did not succeed in a bicycle kick.
After one hour of game, Alishah found Taremi, whose header finished over the crossbar. A few later Mosalman passed a golden ball to the Bushehr-born forward, who shot from the right but Mehdi Rahmati deflected the ball. Branko replaced injured Mohammad Ansari with Oleksiy Polyanskyi, and the Reds attempted again to score by head (Ahmadzadeh) and left-foot (Alipour) with no accuracy.
On the other side, Farshid Bagheri crossed for Rezaei, who wasted another opportunity heading out on the left. With ten minutes remaining, Mansourian subbed in Ali Ghorbani instead of Jaber Ansari (under expectation performance): both teams became nervous seeking for the winning goal, and a smoke screen appeared from bleachers. Alishah was hit by a bottle lauched from hooligans, before he could kick from the corner, and was replaced by Nourollahi.
In the injury time Polyanskyi scored, burning Azadi stadium, but Faghani estinguished the flames because Ukrainan player was caught offside.
1 Beiranvand; 4 S. J. Hosseini, 15 M. Ansari (69′ #22 Polyanskyi), 13 Mahini; 18 Rabi Khah, 11 Kamyabinia, 77 Mosalman, 10 Ahmadzadeh, 3 Alishah (90+1′ #8 Nourollahi); 70 Alipour (85′ #80 Pryyomov), 9 Taremi Head coach Branko Ivankovic
1 Rahmati; 33 M. Hosseini, 3 Robson, 15 Mkoyan; 21 Ghafouri, 6 Ebrahimi, 14 F. Bagheri, 88 Esmaeili (90+2′ #74 Haghdoust); 2 Heydari, 11 J. Ansari (81′ #17 A. Ghorbani), 9 K. Rezaei Head coach Ali Reza Mansourian
Bookings: 12′ Ebrahimi (EST), 21′ Alipour (PER), 68′ F. Bagheri (EST), 77′ Kamal Kamyabinia, 88′ Heydari (EST)
Persian Gulf Pro League 1395/96 comes back, after a 28-days break: in the meanwhile Team Melli played two 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification matches, beating 2-0 Qatar and drawing without goals in China. Week 5 was full of ties, except for the games scheduled on Friday both ended with victories.
FC Mashhad surprised home supporters at Bonyan Diesel stadium and obtained 3 points. In the first half Luciano “Chimba” Pereira tried twice to beat Nasseri, but goalkeeper was very responsive to Brazilian shot and header. Gostaresh Foolad were again dangerous with Khalatbari and Magno Batista, but their efforts were not rewarded: Ayoub Kalantari sent a long pass to Seifollahi, who scored a lob goal in the injury time.
The match between Oil clubs (in Farsi “naft” means oil) was won by Ali Daei’s guys, although guest team goalkeeper Hassan Houri made many spectacular saves on Naft Tehran attacks: the Abadani captain could not prevent home advantage when a perfect free kick by Iman Mob’Ali assisted Croatian defender Igor Prahic’s header. Sanat Naft Abadan equalized with Hakim Nassari, who exploited a defensive mistake; but Mohammad Ghazi scored a very nice goal, rotating 270° ahead of three opponents and shooting low.
Dangerous atmosphere in Tabriz, on the pitch and on the bleachers: after the final whistle, Tractorsazi hooligans launched rocks and bottles on Persepolis players and staff: on 24 August Tabrizi hooligans did the same during a friendly game with Paykan, then suspended. A delegate from Iranian Football Federation pressed charges against head of Tractor supporters, and home team coach Amir Ghalenoei argued with a soldier. About the match. Persepolis avoided the defeat, especially thanks to goalkeeper Alireza Beiranvand, who saved Iranpourian header (7′) and twice Soroush Rafiei‘s attempts (33′ header, 69’ close shot). On the other side Mehdi Taremi missed the opportunity to score a heavy goal when at 5′ he ran past Mohammadi and Akhbari, but a tackle by Shafiei blocked his attempt. With this goalless draw, Persepolis and Tractorsazi remain – respectively – on top and 2nd.
Sepahan were not able to win against Paykan, risking a home defeat, even though hitting twice the crossbar: with Malian defender Moussa Coulibaly after 15 minutes of game, and Alimohammadi at 55′. Paykan coach Majid Jalali should be proud about his captain, Mohammad Sadegh Barani, who stole the ball and assisted Siamak Nemati’s left-footed goal, and then was himself close to score. In the second half Abdollah Veisi chose Hossein Papi to replace Fazeli, and the winger thanked his coach scoring six minutes later with a powerful shot.
One point shared by Padideh and Esteghlal Khuzestan as both clubs did not score. Best attempts came by Mashhadi team: after a corner kick, at 34′ captain Reza Nasehi quickly sent the ball on the right goalpost; at 56′ Moein Abbasian‘s left-footed free kick hit the crossbar.
Morteza Tabrizi is in good shape, after taking part in Team Melli training camp in Italy: the 25-years-old attacking midfielder scored Zob Ahan leading just before halftime. Short after squads came back to the pitch, Divsalar received his second yellow card, leaving 10-men Saba Qom; but Samad Marfavi added a forward, subbing in Karim Eslami instead of Abtahi. Zob Ahan goalkeeper Mazaheri had to face a new offensive tactic, and saved a close header by Hassanzadeh at 73′: two minutes later he could not prevent his equalizer, dribbling Nejad Mehdi and Mohammadzadeh.
Four goals, two scored by each side, one point shared by Foolad Khuzestan and Saipa Karaj. Very good performance by Alessandro Felipe Oltramari, who maintained a clean sheet until he got injured, with Saipa leading thanks to Hosseinzadeh’s goal. The Brazilian goalie was replaced by Fallahzadeh, that made vital saves despite a double by Abdollah Nasseri: the second goal at 92′ seemed to end the match, but referee Salehi had ordered 9-minutes injury time! Five minutes later youngster Mehdi Torabi (born 1994) took the ball on the right, dribbling two Foolad defenders, and his shot secured the draw at Ghadir stadium.
On Sunday the last match of the week 5 was played at Azadi Stadium. Esteghlal Tehran took the advantage after seven minutes: Khosro Heydari from the right crossed for Kaveh Rezaei, whose first header was deflected by Manu Fernandez on the post, and the forward headed the ball into the net. The Spanish goalkeeper saved two lob shots, both attempted by Farshid Esmaeili. Mashinsazi frightened the Blues at 35′, because of Payam Sadeghian‘s shot from outside the penalty area, that was rejected by the right goalpost. Even if Esteghlal were continuously attacking with Ghafouri and Heydari, they did not succeed, and Kakhaber Kakashvili assisted Saman Nariman Jahan’s header, that beat Rahmati. A late attempt by Jaber Ansari was saved again by Manu, securing the 1-1 result. Esteghlal have not yet won any game in this season, and the next week will be the last chance for Alireza Mansourian: chairman Reza Eftekhari claimed “After Tehran derby [against Persepolis] we will take a decision about the coach“.