Tehran derby more than just a game

September 26, 2018

TEHRAN - Despite all the economic pressures, most of Iranian people, especially the youth, will get absorbed in the moment and temporary leave behind difficulties as they watch the Tehran derby between Esteghlal and Persepolis.

Esteghlal and Persepolis, Tehran based giants, will battle it out together at the 80,000-capacity Azadi Stadium on Thursday.

Nine days ago, a win over Qatari giants Al Duhail put Persepolis in seventh heaven as they booked a place in the AFC Champions League semis, while Esteghlal were knocked out of the Championship at the hands of another Qatari club Al Sadd at the same day.  

Persepolis, who have been banned from signing players in the last two transfer windows, sit in second place in Iran Professional League (IPL).

Esteghlal are 11th in the table. The Blues are still struggling to find replacements for their key players who left the club in the summer.

Under leadership of Branko Ivankovic, Persepolis have won back-to-back IPL title. The Reds also advanced to the 2018 AFC Champions League semis for the second year in a row.

On the other hand, Winfried Schaefer is under pressure after the German failed to meet the expectations of Esteghlal fans.

Anyhow, Tehran derby is an opportunity for the Iranians to leave behind difficulties for a while.

They’re football mad and you will see what it means to them on Thursday.

 It was sold out.

Reporting by Masoud Hossein

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