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Perspolis widen gap with the pack

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Posted on Friday, October 5 2007

(Irankicks) Perspolis defeated Zob Ahan 2-1 in Azadi stadium today and opened a 4 point lead with closest rival Saba Battery. Saba Battery at home hosting Esteghlal Ahvaz, needed a late goal to force a 2-2 draw.

For the third consecutive match, Perspolis found itself a goal behind early after a ferocious shot by Mosalman gave Zob Ahan the lead in the 16th minute. However, similar to previous matches Perspolis replied quickly. Sephr Heidari, a former Zob Ahan player, headed in Nikbakhtís cross for the equalizer in the 21st minute. Although Zob Ahan started the second half determined to pull ahead, Perspolis slowly recaptured the momentum and in the 59th minute another header, this time by Bagheri from a Nouri cross gave Perspolis the winner.

Meanwhile across town in Derakhshan Stadium Saba Battery had to come from behind twice to earn a point at home against Esteghlal Ahvaz. Shiri gave the Ahvaz side the first lead after 12 minutes, and it was not until 10 minutes into the second half that Saba was able to answer through Abassfard. However, four minutes later Esteghlal Ahvaz restored its lead when Haghi scored. Sabaís in-form striker Fazli came to the rescue in the 84th minute to level the score for the hosts.

With these results, Perspolis remained top of the table with 20 points, followed by Saba Battery on 16 points. Zob Ahan, with one game in hand, finds itself in relegation zone, ending Round 8 in the 17th place. Esteghlal Ahvaz moved up a spot to 6th.

In Round 9, Perspolis will meet perennial rivals Esteghlal, while Saba Battery will be away to surprise team of the season Malavan. Zob Ahan will be home to Pegah and Esteghlal Ahvaz will host Sepahan.

Two straight losses do not seem to have deterred Malavan in its quest to challenge for top honors this season. Playing in Shiraz Hafezieh Stadium, Malavan defeated its host Bargh 2-0, and moved into the third spot above Sepahan. Malavanís both goals came in the second half through Tahmasebi and Zare. Bargh dropped another 4 spots, finishing Round 8 in 16th place. In Round 9, Bargh will be away to Mes Kerman.

In all likelihood fans in Abadan were the happiest in the league at the end of their teamís Round 8 match against Shirin-Faraz. Both sides that won promotion to the top flight this season have made lost of noise in the new season. However, it has been Sanat Naft Abadan which has struggled mightily. On Friday, Abadan representatives recorded first home win of the season, defeating Shirin-Faraz 2-1. Demienta and Mirghorbani gave Sanat Naft a 2-0 lead, before Ataei narrowed the gap with five minutes left in the regulation. Sanat Naft lifted its position to 12th place in the table, while Shirin Faraz dropped to 8th. Rah Ahan will host Sanat Naft in Round 9, while Shirin-Faraz will be home to Saipa.

Draw specialists Peykan did not disappoint, ending level with opponents for the 4th week in row, and 5th of the season. This time it was Rah Ahan, itself with a hefty record of draws this season that forced a point from Peykan. Peykan, playing at home went ahead in the 32nd minute through Yazdani. Pashaei replied for Rah Ahan in the 48th minute, before Heydari gave the lead to Peykan for the second time in 72nd minute. However, with four minutes left, Asghari spoiled the hostsí party scoring the equalizer. Peykan ended Round 8 in 11th place, and Rah Ahan improved to 7th. Peykanís Round 9 match is in Shiraz against Fajr Sepasi.

Fajr-Sepasi was in Mashíhad for its Round 8 match with Abu Moslem. This might prove the turning point for Aziziís men as they convincingly defeated their Shirazi opponents 3-1. For the hosts, two first half goals by Hosseini and Khani was complemented by a late second half goal by Olerum. Fajr could only respond once through Zare. Abu Moslem is now out of the relegation zone for the first time in weeks, finishing Round 8 in the 15th spot. Fajrís 10th spot in the table remained unchanged. Abu Moslem will travel to Hamedan to face Pas in Round 9.

Winless record of Pegah Gilan was extended for at least another round when in Rasht Pas Hamedan forced a 0-0 draw. Both sides find their positions in the table unchanged for the week, with Pas in 14th place and Pegah pegged to the last spot.

On Sunday, Round 9 continues with Sepahan playing hosts to Esteghlal Tehran. A win by Sepahan could see it move into the runner-up spot, with two games in hand. A win by Esteghlal could see the Blues move from the 9th to 5th place.

The Round 8 match between Saipa and Mes was postponed.


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