TEHRAN (FNA)- Esteqlal won to retain its top position in Iran's Premier League while a last-minute victory could not bring Persepolis out of crisis.
Esteqlal thrashed Esteqlal-e-Ahvaz 3-0 on Saturday to keep its five-point gap with Zob Ahan.
Siavosh Akbarpour opened the scoring for Esteqlal just two minutes into the game and Alireza Abbasfard doubled the lead half an hour later.
Esteqlal-e-Ahvaz had the chance of narrowing the lead just before the break, but Vahid Taleblou saved Javad Mahini's penalty to end the first half in high spirits.
Arash Borhani scored in the 84th minute to seal a dazzling victory which helped Esteqlal retain its top position with 49 points, press tv reported.
Zob Ahan defeated Sepahan 2-1 to keep its second place with 44 points.
Persepolis escaped a home draw against bottom-placed Payam, thanks to Ivan Petrovic's injury-time penalty. However, the victory, which kept Persepolis in the third spot with 40 points, could not alleviate the critical situation which the club is faced with.
Coach Afshin Peyrovani has criticized the club's management for naming a dozen new coaches which might replace him. Endless speculation about Persepolis' future has resulted in the players' lack of concentration in the field.
The Reds' superstar Ali Karimi was temporarily banned to play for the club after he severely criticized the club's chief Mohammad Hasan Ansarifard.
In other Saturday matches, Saba beat Moqavemat 2-0 to stand in the fourth place with 38 points. Barq lost 2-1 to Saipa while Pas and Mes ended in a 1-1 draw.