Eamon Zayed thrilled with hat-trick for Persepolis in Tehran derby

Speaking in the wake of Persepolis' dramatic 3-2 win, the former Derry City striker admitted that he was on 'cloud nine' after becoming a cult hero at his new club

Former Derry City striker Eamon Zayed has described the feeling of his first hat-trick for new side Persepolis as 'absolutely amazing' as he sparked an amazing late win against rivals Esteghlal on Thursday night.

“To score my first goals for the club and in the manner in which I did, was absolutely amazing," Zayed told Extratime.ie. "It was a derby here, the two biggest teams in Iran, played in front of 90,000 fans in the national stadium and 20 million people watched it live on TV.

“We were 2-0 down and had a player sent off. I had come on in the 60th minute, in what was only my second appearance for the club, and I scored goals in the 86th, 88th and 92nd minute. It was Roy of the Rovers stuff!”

Zayed joined the club from Derry City shortly after the League of Ireland season finished in November last year, and admits he is enjoying his new life.

“I've been here almost a month now and I think I've finally adapted to the place now. Scoring the hat-trick on such an important game will hopefully allow me kick on now and do well here.

“Life over here is ok. It's obviously different than back home in so far as they have certain rules like drink is forbidden so there are no bars or nightclubs. Traffic and pollution is terrible here too! But it's a safe country, people are very friendly and there are plenty of things to do. I'm kept busy training six days a week though.”

After his first hat-trick for the club, Zayed is hoping to continue his good form and see what happens for the remainder of the season.

“We have the Asian Champions League starting up soon so I'm looking forward to playing in that. I've signed a short term contract until the end of the season here in June so hopefully all goes well now and I'll see what options I have then. At the moment I'm on cloud nine and tonight feels like a dream, scoring a hat trick in a derby played in front of 90,000 people!”

The quality of football in the country is a positive for Zayed, and he is enjoying the limelight from the football-loving fans in Iran.

“Football here is class. It's very professionally run here, with training facilities being top notch. The standard is very good, technically they are very good players. The captain of my team is a legend here in Iran; Ali Karimi. He played for Bayern Munich for a few years! He’s a top player and he's an example of the standard here.

”People love, love, love football here in the country. You have men coming up to you, shaking your hand and taking pictures all the time. You get noticed every were you go.”