Esteghlal Humbles Sanat Naft to Reach Hazfi Cup Final

It was a close encounter at a fully-packed Takhti Stadium in Abadan where most of the 8000 seats were taken by fans of the local team
Members of Esteghlal F.C.Members of Esteghlal F.C.

Esteghlal F.C. is the first finalist in the Hazfi Cup after beating Sanat Naft 2-1 on Tuesday in the semifinals at Takhti Stadium in Abadan, Khuzestan Province, home to Sanat Naft.

The Tehran club gained the precious victory away against its powerful southern rival which had eliminated Persepolis at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium in the quarterfinals last December.

It was a close encounter at a fully-packed stadium where most of the 8000 seats were taken by fans of the local team. Winfried Schäfer’s men started the game better and center back Pejman Montazeri opened the scoreline at minute 8 after Naft goalkeeper Sosha Makani failed to clear the long ball from the penalty area.

With only a minute before the first half, Esteghlal doubled the goal difference when midfielder Dariush Shojaeian nutmegged Makani.

Naft went into attack mode in the second half, created some chances and managed to narrow the difference to one goal when Brazilian striker Luciano Pereira Mendes shot the ball past Mehdi Rahmati at minute 61.

The team’s efforts in the last 30 minutes were all in vain as it made no change in the scoreline and the scoreboard after the final whistle showed the winner was decided by one goal.

The other semifinal will be held between Esteghlal Khuzestan and Khooneh Be Khooneh on March 9 and the final game is slated for May 2 in Khorramshahr, Khuzestan Province.


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