Sunday, 10 July 2005 03:30
IRNA - Saba Battery and Abu Moslem will fight
in the League Cup final as the two sides won Friday's semifinals on
Saba fought back to beat the visitor Esteqlal of Ahvaz in Shahid Derakhshan
Stadium 10-9 in penalty shootouts after the two teams struggled to a 4-4
draw in normal and extra time.
The visitor's nimble midfielder Amir Khalifeh-Asl took the lead five minutes
after the kickoff, which was responded by Robert Marcusi on 29 minutes.
But Esteqlal donning the traditional blue shirts threw down the gauntlet
with two goals Abdolvahab Abolheyl and Mehrzad Rezaei scored eight minutes
into the additional time before the break and four minutes after the
Not to be outdone, the home team hit three in a nine-minute blitz.
National skipper Ali Daei minimized the gap with his trademark penalty kick
in the 65th minute, with his teammates Marcusi and Babak Zolrahmi netting on
70 and 74 minutes.
Saba players on the pitch and in the dugout were celebrating their
advancement to the final, but their party was gatecrashed by the blue
Adriano Always, who secured the parity five minutes deep into the stoppage
Shootouts were deciding as the two failed to find the net in the extra time.
The excitement mounted as each side converted all five penalty kicks. Saba
emerged victorious as Hamid Ebrahimi's shootout kissed the net and
Esteqlal's Navid Khoda-Karam missed the deciding sixth kick.
In other semifinal, Fajr-e Sepassi entertained Abu Moslem in Hafezieh
Stadium in the southern capital city Shiraz.
Unlike Saba-Esteqlal game, Fajr and Abu Moslem played a boring football,
leaving the fans ruing a goal in 120 minutes.
The Mashhad-based Abu Moslem missed a golden opportunity eight minutes from
extra time when frolic scorer Fereydoun Fazli failed to beat keeper Hossein
Ashna from the penalty spot.
Referee Iraj Nazari ordered for shootouts to decide the finalist.
The scores were even as Vahid Rezaei and Rahim Khodayari from Fajr and
Mojtaba Jabbari and Reza Nassehi from Abu Moslem converted the first two
penalties while the Shirazi side's Ali Alizadeh and the visitor's Azizi
Frisat did not make it and the remaining two from each squad added the
Hashem Beikzadeh celebrated Fajr's sixth as Abu Moslem's Vahid Seyed
Mohammadlou did, but the visitor had the last laugh when Fazli kept his
nerves this time to send the ball past Ashna and Gholam-Reza Rezaei failed.
The two-legged final showdown is slated for July 12 and 15.
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