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Esteghlal and Persepolis draw 1-1

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IranMania- The expected 100,000 crowd didn't turn out to the match on Friday, perhaps it was the cold weather or perhaps there was a feeling that this wasn't going to be a cliff hanger.

Nevertheless, 70,000 cheering fans still turned up to greet the Italian referees and to cheer for the reds & blues, in what was still a good game by normal standards.

This year's Tehran Derby, got off to an eventful start with Esteghlal hitting Persepolis' goalpost within the first minute. Flowing attacks followed from both teams, but it was to be the reds who made the first mark, with Reza Jabbari slotting home a clear cut opportunity for Persepolis.

Esteghlal, feeling the urgency, became more aggressive in their play and soon earned a penalty in the 37th minute, which was duly converted by Mohammad Navazi.

The teams went into half time 1-1 with the referee blowing for the first half on the 45 minute allocating no time for injuries.

The second half was much more lacklustre than the first, and lacked any flow. The Italian referee, Pasquale Rudomonti, started to dish out the cards. There were some moments of excitement, Persepolis hit the Esteghlal post, there were direct free kicks for both teams and both goalkeepers earned their wages.

But it was somehow clear that the game was fizzling out towards a draw and the second half did not deliver the excitement one expected, having watched the first.

Thankfully there were no brawls on the pitch this time, but of course there was one sending off, Ansarian being red carded after 2 yellow cards. After all it wouldn't be a proper Esteghlal v Persepolis match without a red card, would it?

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