AFC: Hype builds for Hazfi Cup final

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AFC – KUALA LUMPUR, Esteghlal and Tractor are edging closer to Thursday’s Hazfi Cup final.

Islamic Republic of Iran’s long, unique 2019-20 football season has one match remaining, with Esteghlal and Tractor to meet in the Hazfi Cup Final on Thursday.

The teams secured their respective places in the decider with wins in last week’s semi-finals. Tractor beat Naft Masjed Soleyman 1-0, but it was Esteghlal’s success over Persepolis in the other semi-final which captured much of the attention.

The Tehran sides played out a superb, see-sawing battle at an empty Azadi Stadium, with Esteghlal equalised at 2-2 in injury time, before emerging from a nerve-shredding penalty shootout as winners.

Esteghlal finished second in the recently completed Iran Pro League, three points ahead of fourth-placed Tractor, who are chasing just their second Hazfi Cup title, with their previous win coming in 2014.

Their opponents, on the other hand, are the competition’s most successful team. Esteghlal have lifted the Cup on seven occasions, including five times since 2000.

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