Tehran Times - With Iran Professional League (IPL) passing its ninth matchday, four or even five teams compete for the winning trophy. It has made a super-exciting league that can help build a solid national team for the 2022 World Cup.
After one defeat and one draw, Persepolis rediscovered winning ways in the IPL as the Reds edged Mes Rafsanjan 1-0 in Tehran's Azadi Stadium. Mes Rafsanjan entered the game on the back of an eight-game unbeaten run since the start of the new season. Foolad Khuzestan are the only team without defeat in the current IPL season.
Elsewhere, Esteghlal beat resolute Zob Ahan 1-0 with a late own goal. The away win took the defending champions up to the second place in the IPL table, equal 18 points with Persepolis.
Sepahan are trailing the two Tehran giants by two points less after a 2-0 win against bottom-side Sanat Naft.
Gol Gohar, Tractor, Nassaji, and Foolad are all chasing the top of the table with a maximum of five or six points behind the joint-leaders Persepolis and Esteghlal.
With the World Cup less than 40 days away, Carlos Queiroz, head coach of the Iran national team, is considered the happiest man because he knows very well how much a good league can help him build a solid national team.
While the main structure of Team Melli comprises players playing abroad leagues, the Portuguese coach has also counted a lot on the stars of the Iranian league.
Queiroz replaced Dragan Skocic on Sept. 7 and needs more time to prepare his team for the 2022 World Cup. He will lead Iran for the third successive time in the World Cup.
When a country has a healthy domestic league in which the young players can progress and test their abilities against other great players from around the world, it also makes a great national team.
In the current season of the Persian Gulf League, some high-quality players from different countries have helped increase the league's quality.
Team Melli have been drawn into Group B of the 2022 FIFA World Cup along with England, the U.S., and Wales.