The Derby ends in a draw with little to shout about.

The much anticipated Tehran Derby between Esteghlal and Persepolis was played on Thursday in Azadi Stadium and ended in a 1-1 draw. The importance of this derby was due to the fierce rivalry between the two teams at the top of the league table, allowing fans entry into Azadi and the selection of players for Team Melli.

Despite the restriction on the number of fans allowed into the stadium, the effect on the atmosphere and the players of the two teams was quite significant as the match was a thrilling contest from the word go. It is estimated that 20,000 fans were presently divided equally between the two teams’ supporters while thousands waited outside Azadi and in the perimeters.

The pace of the game was fast and furious, which excited the fans, but there were very few tactics and beautiful moves in the game.  From the onset, the game was spoilt by the continuous protests from players and the bench every time the referee whistled for a foul!

There is little to write about the positive side of this game despite its importance. Errors in passing, poor finishing, wild tackles, lack of basics of football was quite vivid in this game. Even allowing for the sensitivity of the match, there were numerous schoolboy errors by what was supposed to be a match between the two top teams in the country. The finishing in front of the goal was truly embarrassing and comical. In general, the match was not a good advertisement for Iran’s football whose national team has just qualified for the FIFA World Cup.

The biggest criticism, however, must be fired towards the two coaches of Persepolis and Esteghlal. Golmohammadi and Majidi. Two ex- Team Melli teammates from the same era, have stepped up to coaching without solid groundwork.  They both have a lot to learn in football management but more significantly in anger management and behavior.

From the start of the match, the bench of both teams was the catalyst in bringing the game into disruptions by their constant protests and violations.  lack of manners, shouting, threatening behavior, and the attempt of Golmohammdi to physically attack the referee resembled a scene from a gangster movie rather than a football pitch.

Golmohammadi was dismissed but it was far too late from a feeble referee who could have acted much firmly early on and could easily award a few cards of different colors earlier in the game.

GolMohammadi’s behavior was not befitting a professional coach and his loss of control in front of the camera watched by millions globally, should give the club an indication that the man is emotionally not fit to lead a big club at big events. Majidi is in a similar boat however, he escaped being sent to the stands for being able to control his temper earlier on after a stern warning from the referee.

The weakness of the FFIRI against the top teams is well documented in Iran. Persepolis and Esteghlal are simply too big for the feeble federation. The disciplinary Committee has historically shown reluctance in awarding heavy fines when Persepolis or Esteghlal are involved. Any final ruling would always end up being either appealed and reduced or dismissed altogether.