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Esteghlal- the better performer

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By: Amir Haj Rezaei

IranMania- Once again, Esteghlal and Al Etehad faced each other to play another Asian club match. The Esteghlal formation and their placement on the pitch showed a well thought out approach by Pourheidari, the team coach, and his intention to eliminate the Saudi team. Esteghlal’s main area of play was the wings in this case. Pourheidari had paid much attention to attack and penetration and he knew well that without these two factors success would not come their way.





His second advantage was the correct choice of players, who were capable of putting his plan into effect. Akbarpour was placed in the right wing and behind him there was Navazi for support. Everyone should be familiar with the fact that the swiftest Esteghlal player is placed in the wing and he is usually a substitute. The Navazi and Akparpour pair kept up their repeated attacks on the Al Etehad left wing and this determination finally led to the overlap and the strike which gave the game to Esteghlal.

Though the same tactics were repeated on the other wing, nothing came of it. Khaziravi was not able to come up to team expectations on the left wing and this led to his replacement as he did not possess the harmony to cooperate with Vahedi. It should also be mentioned that the Esteghlal midfield was not ideal in this game and the problem lay in the fact that Dinmohammadi and Fekri were placed in the central midfield position. From there, they did not feed, communicate and find the channels to place the ball at the service of the Esteghlal strikers successfully enough.



The idea of Pourheidari to use Momenzadeh, the strong striker of the team, against the defenders of Al Etehad was a simple one. His role was supposed to be one of distractions of the defenders to give the strikers more elbow room. Esteghlal performed better than Al Etehad, but what would have happened if the penalty had not been scored? How can none of the 20 corners shot and the 80% higher performance of Esteghlal not be effective in a game?

Such questions must be asked about Iranian football in general. Esteghlal have their part in this too. The only point which made Al Etehad superior was their common team understanding of each other, of tactics and match conditions. Maybe the reason for this is the good coaches employed by the Saudi Arabian clubs, which in turn allow their players to become tactic-conscious.

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