Afshin Afshar (lastkick.com) – After an eleven-day break the Iranian Professional League circus will get on the road again on Wednesday with two matches both of which can have dire consequences for losers.
The first and more important of the two is the arguably second most popular derby in the country, namely the Isfahan Derby. If Esteghlal of Tehran vs. Perspolis is Iran’s answer to la Liga’s El Classico, the Isfahan Derby may be compared to the Barcelona or Madrid derby with one interesting twist; this year the Isfahan teams, Sepahan and Zob-Ahan, are first and second in the league table. The loser of this match will feel the chasers’ hot breath down his neck! Currently Sepahan (55pts.) leads Zob-Ahan (46pts.), Perspolis (43pts.), and Esteghlal (40pts.).
In the other match of the day Esteghlal of Tehran will meet Mes of Kerman. A loss to mess will be big setback for Esteghlal that still has very slim title hopes, and is hoping for a spot in Asia. Mes on the other hand is desperately hoping to get out of the drop zone, and get a few wins in a row in advance of the opening of their Asian campaign versus al Ahli of UAE.
On Friday Perspolis will meet hapless Moghavemat of Shiraz. The Reds are riding high after a victory over their archenemies Esteghlal and at least on paper should have very little problem against Moghavemat, but in the last few seasons they have also shown a knack for making life too difficult for themselves.
The other two in the chasing pack, namely Estil of Azin and Tractor-Sazi of Tabriz, are visiting Malavan and Saipa on the road. Malavan have proven to be very effective at home, Saipa however, are struggling.
In the rest of the matches relegation zone residents Abu-Moslem are visiting Foolad in Ahvaz, while Shahin host Saba at home in Bushehr, Pas visit Rah-Ahan in Shahr Rey, and Paykan host Esteghlal of Ahvaz in Qazvin.