Art And Culture

Reds Win Action-Packed Tehran Derby

Reds Win Action-Packed Tehran DerbyReds Win Action-Packed Tehran Derby

The major crosstown derby in Iran, scheduled this year as the midseason finale, ended in a badly needed win for Persepolis. Fans feared the game would end in a tie as has been the case for most of the Sorkhabi games, as the derby is called in Persian, in the past three years.

Playing in front of around 60,000 die-hard spectators, the two Tehrani giants played an eventless first 30 minutes. However, it was in the dying minutes of the first half when Esteghlal's young striker Sajjad Shahbazzadeh found the net, scoring his first ever derby goal through Khosro Heidari's set piece.

Persepolis, which has not been at its best so far this season, standing eighth with a goal difference of -1 ahead of the Sunday match at the Azadi Stadium, created more chances as the Reds had to win the game in order to have any chance of winning the title at the end of the season. Persepolis fans had to wait until the 73th minute when Mohammad Nouri scored the equalizer with a low shot from just inside the penalty area.

But that was not the end of it. Nine minutes later, Omid Alishah scored the second and the winning goal for Persepolis directly off a corner kick. The young midfielder, who has been one of the best players for the Reds since he joined the club two years ago, received his second yellow card and was sent off for taking off his jersey in celebration.    

The Blues then staged several rounds of attacks but failed to tie the game, even though the referee had given them six minutes of extra time. The crucial three points for Persepolis in Sunday's derby, which is declared to be the most important derby in Asia and 22nd most important derby in the world, can provide a timely injection of pace into their season.