May 29, 2023

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Tehran derby battle of head coaches: expert

TEHRAN – Iranian football’s top pundit Jalal Cheraghpour says that the key to Persepolis’ win in Tehran derby match was knowledge of their head coach about his own team.

Persepolis edged past their archrivals Esteghlal 1-0 in Iran Professional League (IPL) Matchday 27 at the Azadi Stadium.

The crucial win moved Persepolis higher than Esteghlal in the IPL table with the two points above the Blues.

“I think the knowledge and mastery of the head coaches over their teams made the difference in Tehran derby,” said Cheraghpour in his interview with Tehran Times.

“I give 45 out of 100 to Ricardo Sa Pinto in terms of knowledge of his side and 85 out of 100 to Yahya Golmohammadi in this regard,” added the former coach of Iran national team.

Cheraghpour further explained his reasons to clarify the differences between the two coaches.

“Esteghlal lacked a traditional center-forward or No.9 in their squad. Sa Pinto put Peyman Babaei in front of the attacking line, but the player couldn’t adapt with his new role because he is not a classic center-forward.

“When Esteghlal conceded the goal, then Sa Pinto decided to bring his classic strikers like Arsalan Motahari and Arman Ramezani, but it was too late to change the result.

“In terms of substitution also Esteghlal coach made some mistakes when he took out Jafar Salmani from the left-back and brought in Reza Mirzaei, who is not a specialist in that position. It proved that Sa Pinto didn’t have enough knowledge of his side.

“On the other hand, Golmohammadi knew exactly what was happening in the field. He made three clever substations in the midfield line, which showed his knowledge over the team. By taking out Vahid Amiri, Mehdi Torabi and Soroush Rafiei who played in the best way possible in the midfield, Golmohammadi showed that he knew how to strengthen his side in the best time of the match. The players were tired at the end of the game, so he replaced them.

“Moreover, he brought a forward, Isa Alekasir in the second half, who changed the game and scored the winning goal. Because in the first half Mehdi Abdi, as a classic forward, tried his best to take the energy of the Esteghlal defenders.

“So, it was the battle of the head coaches in terms of their knowledge of their sides and Golmohammadi won the battle at the best time of the season,” he concluded. 

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