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)
Referee: Alireza Faghani