By Farrokh Hesabi

Tehran derby not an interesting game, football expert Pashazadeh says

July 16, 2021 - 17:38

TEHRAN – Tehran derby between Esteghlal and Persepolis might not have been the most interesting game for the football fans in terms of the quality of the game, according to Iranian football expert Mehdi Pashazadeh.

Esteghlal football team defeated Persepolis 4-3 in a penalty shootout in Iran’s Hazfi Cup quarterfinals.

Two teams shared the spoils in a 0-0 draw after 120 minutes at the Azadi Stadium in Tehran.

When Esteghlal goalkeeper Hossein Hosseini had pushed aside the final attempt by the Persepolis' young striker Mehdi Abdi, it was over. His save set off a wild celebration for the Blues.

Pashazadeh, former Esteghlal and Iran national team defender, talked about the match in an interview with Tehran Times.

“It was not a high-quality game. Both teams played very cautiously in a timid showing,” he said.

“Persepolis didn’t want to lose as Yahya Golmohammadi desired to continue the unbeaten run that his side had shown in the league. Therefore, their priority was not to concede a goal.

“On the other hand, Esteghlal were determined to prove that they are deserved to win a trophy, given all the management problems they have been struggling with. The Hazfi cup is the shortest path to win a trophy and automatically qualifying for the AFC Champions League. So, they needed such a win, although nothing is over, and they still have a difficult path ahead to win the Hazfi Cup,” he added.

Former Bayer Leverkusen player believes that the Iranian players are so emotional: “This is a weakness. Our players and even coaches are so emotional, and in the big games, they perform mostly based on their emotions rather than the tactical instructions. It is contrary to what we see in European football, or generally in professional football, and that’s why the big matches over there are really exciting and full of drama. But here we see a lackluster performance in a match that is known as the biggest game in Iranian football.”

He considered Hosseini as the best player of the match.

“He managed to keep a clean sheet which was the number one priority. However, he and Persepolis goalkeeper, Hamed Lak, had nothing special to do during the game in terms of saves and performance. But in the penalty shootouts, Hosseini did a great job,” Pashazadeh said.

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