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The Ireland-born star was on the mark again for the Iranian giants in their 6-1 victory over Al Shabab, scoring another treble for his new club

Eamon Zayed has described his latest hat-trick for new club Persepolis as a 'New Year's gift' for the Iranian club's fans.

The striker became an instant fans favourite at Persepolis after he came off the bench to score a treble in the Tehran derby against Esteghlal last month.  Zayed added to his hero status by bagging another hat-trick in his team's 6-1 rout of Al Shabab in the AFC Champions League in midweek.

He told reporters after the game: "It was a good match and we surprised by the number of fans which came to the stadium. They were great. We played very well and at the end, we obtained a very good result.

"I believe it was a nice New Year's gift for our fans. We had many chances and could score more goals. I'm happy for another hat trick."

Iran rang in the new year on March 21 and Zayed's new team got the party started with an impressive win.  He opened the scoring for Persepolis against UAE club Al Shabab with a cool finish inside the box. Zayed's second was a cheeky backheel from close range with his third a side footed dink which angled into the net.

After making it 3-0, the hosts romped home 6-1 for their biggest ever win in the pan-Asian competition. Zayed has now notched seven goals in his last six games for Persepolis.

Persepolis captain, Ali Karimi, said Zayed could have scored a "double hat-trick in this match and I hope he will continue this run" while club legend Ali Parvin added "he only knows how make hat-tricks."

Parvin added: "Whenever he plays for Persepolis, he shows his hunger and it's Mustafa Denizli's art of coaching."

Zayed was a League of Ireland title winner with Drogheda United in 2007 and also played for Bray Wanderers, Sporting Fingal and Derry City in the Irish league. He represented the Republic of Ireland at under-21 level but has since opted to represent Libya on the senior international stage.

Zayed joined Persepolis on a six-month contract last December and was named's World Player of the Week for his dramatic hat-trick in the Tehran derby.

Persepolis are next in action on April 4 against Al Gharafa in the Asian Champions League.