Esteghlal was held to a 1-1 draw by its arch-rival Persepolis in the Iran
Professional League (IPL) at the Azadi Stadium on Friday. Tehran derby was
watched by about 90,000 spectators and for the sixth straight time ended in a
tie, Mehr News Agency reported.
The spectators accused the teams of collusion. They also chanted "Ya
Hossein, Mir Hossein" in support of the opposition candidate Mir
Persepolis, who suffers from managerial problems these days, was the
better team in the first half. They dominated the match and kept control of the
ball but failed to benefit from their chances.
Six minutes into the second half Hadi Norouzi was tripped by Esteghlal keeper
Vahid Taleblu in the penalty box. Mehdi Shiri could not convert the penalty kick
and Adel Kolahkaj scored for Persepolis on a rebound.
After that Esteghlal put Persepolis under pressure. They were the better team
and eventually equalized the match. Hossein Kazemi's header in the 55th minute
leveled the match.
Esteghlal maintained control of the match and created some good opportunities,
but their strikers could not take advantage of them.
The spectators protested to the way the two teams played in the derby. Esteghlal
and Persepolis players have been widely condemned by the fans of being in
This match was considered to be the most important derby in Asia and the 22nd
most important match in the world in June 2008 by World Soccer magazine.
Esteghlal and Persepolis have played together 67 times in which Esteghlal has
won 20 times, lost 16 times and 31 matches ended in a draw.