Holder Esteqlal resolute to retain IPL title
Esteqlal disposed of struggling Rah Ahan 2-1 in a 22nd week derby of the sixth Iran Pro League (IPL) in Azadi Stadium, west of Tehran, Friday.
The narrow victory was invaluable for the Blues as pacesetter SAIPA was held to a 1-1 draw for the fifth consecutive time by the Shiraz-based Barq in the 23rd week earlier in the day.
Defender Piruz Qorbani put Esteqlal ahead in the 36th minute and fullback Ali Ansarian headed a trademark long throw from striker Ali Alizadeh to double the scoring 15 minutes from normal time.
Rah Ahan minimized the gap with a controversial goal on 80 minutes, when Esteqlal keeper Vahid Taleblu was fouled before the ball passed the goalmouth.
Esteqlal is in the second place with 45 points and one match in hand and SAIPA has 46 points.