The stunning result in front of a packed Tehran's Azadi Stadium came after arch-rivals Esteghlal jumped to a two-goal lead before the hour mark in Persian Gulf Cup playIranian giants Persepolis broke a four-match losing streak against arch rivals Esteghlal in last night's 3-2 win, adding another memorable chapter to the legendary Tehran Derby.
Esteghlal opened up a 2-0 lead before the hour mark with strikes from Milad Meidavoudi and Fereydoon Zandi, and all seemed lost for the visiting Reds when Merhdad Oladi was shown a straight red card in the 68th minute.
Though Persepolis supporters could be seen heading for the exits as time wound down, Libyan striker Eamon Zayed proceeded to mount one of the most remarkable comebacks in Derby history.
The former Derry City man first scored in the 82nd minute before bringing his team even just two minutes later on a headed cross. Then in the waning seconds of additional time, Zayed spun between two defenders before unleashing a close-range bullet that the goalkeeper was unable to stop.
"I don't believe this happened," said Zayed after the match of his hat-trick, only the second in the history of the Derby. "When I came onto the pitch I knew we could come back from two goals down to win."
"The win was a combination of dream and reality" said Persepolis manager Mustafa Denizli, who has been tasked with improving the team's fortunes after poor results and front office dischord in recent years. "We won because Esteghlal's players thought the match had all but ended."