IPL action resumes: The key talking points

January 24, 2020 - 16:35

TEHRAN - Iran Professional League (IPL) is set to resume this weekend after month long break. Iran league will kick off with four matches on the first day of 17th week of the league and two other games on Sunday.

Esteghlal and Shahr Khodro are scheduled to play Kuwait SC and Riffa respectively in the 2020 AFC Champions League Preliminary Stage Two and the teams’ matches have been postponed.

Tehran Times Sports Desk looks at talking points ahead of this week's action:

*Machine Sazi vs. Sepahan

Sepahan are three points behind leaders Persepolis and sit second on the table of IPL. It is the same order as the last season’ winners and runners-up of the league. Amir Ghalenoei’s side suffered their first defeat of the season against Sanat Naft just before the break. They’ve strengthened their squad by signing new players including Soroush Rafiei from Shahr Khodro and Omani forward Muhsen Al-Ghassani. Machine Sazi, 9th in the table, parted ways with their former head coach Rasoul Khatibi and replaced him by Ahad Sheikhlari.

*Paykan vs. Nassaji Mazandaran

Paykan did not win in their last seven IPL matches and this can somehow be the game of the season for the carmaker team from Tehran. It is why Hossein Faraki’s team are only one step away from the relegation zone. Nassaji, on the other hand, are six points above the relegation, but they aren’t safe too. The big problem for Paykan in the first half of the season was the poor performance of their goalkeeper, and for that reason they have added a new goalkeeper to their squad.

*Gol Gohar vs. Saipa

Gol Gohar will host Saipa in Sirjan. Nothing less than a victory would be acceptable for Gol Gohar as more dropped points could see them for an immediate return to the lower division. They are currently rank 15th in the table. Saipa also struggled in the start of the season, but they finished the first half of the season with an inspiring 3-1 win against Zob Ahan which snapped their losing streak.

*Zob Ahan vs. Pars Jonoubi Jam

Zob Ahan are nine points above the relegation zone in Iran Professional League after a run of just three wins in their last 16 matches. They appointed Montenegrin coach Miodrag Radulovic as their new coach after parting company with Alireza Mansourian, hoping for the better results in the second part of the 2019-20 season. On the other side, Pars Jonoubi are also starting new era with Hooman Afazeli as their new head coach. They are the third team above the drop zone and place 12th in the table.

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