The IPL is back; massive test for Foolad and Esteghlal

June 24, 2020 - 1:4

TEHRAN - Exactly 118 days after the last taste of Iran Professional League (IPL), Iran's top-flight returns on Wednesday, and the prominent fixture of the first night back sees Foolad Khuzestan welcome Tehran giants, Esteghlal, to the Foolad Arena.

The contest is a postponed match of the week 17th of the competitions and first one after the break that was the result of the outbreak of pandemic coronavirus in the country.

Javad Nekounam, head coach of Foolad, goes head-to-head with his former teammate at Esteghlal, Farhad Majidi, who is now at the helm of the Blues.

Before lockdown, Esteghlal were defeated 1-0 by Gol Gohar in SIrjan. They don't want to lose back-to-back games in the league as they are now at the fourth place of the table with 36 points and a game in hands.

Majidi's side could move to the second place ahead of Sepahan and Tractor, who are second and third, respectively.

Foolad, on the other hand, are aiming to take the three pints of the home fixture and move to fourth place. They now have 33 points and stand sixth at the table of the IPL.

However, home advantage looks likely to be worthless when football returns due to matches being played behind closed doors, which in the top European leagues has resulted in a remarkable increase of away wins and a decrease in home victories.

Nekounam's side are hard to beat at home. They have not lost such a game since October 2019, but they will need to overcome their rivals if they want to make a late push for a Champions League spot this season.

The first game back for both sides is a massive test.