Ahwaz: AFC Champions League 2013 contenders Esteghlal of Iran were crowned new Iran League champions after beating Foolad 1-0 away on Sunday.
On the day when nearest rival Sepahan were not available to play in the league because of their involvement in the final of the Hazfi Cup, Esteghlal ensured a four-point buffer with a match to go to lift the title third times in last 12 years in the penultimate round of the league.
Javad Nekounam scored Esteghlal’s winner from the penalty kick in the 19th minute. Foolad had a chance to force Esteghlal to wait for their celebration but Mehdi Noori missed a first-half penalty as the score remained 1-0.
With one match remaining in the league, Esteghlal has amassed 67 points from 33 matches while second-placed Sepahan have 63 points from the same number of matches.
The Tehran giants have won four of their continental group stage matches to emerge top of Group D which featured Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia, UAE’s Al Ain and Al Rayyan of Qatar.