Friendly game of Monday September 7, 1998.

Here are the results of the Friendly game between Toronto Lynx and Persepolis of Tehran (Iran) played at Varsity Stadium in Toronto at 2:00pm.

Toronto Lynx (all black, white numbers, yellow chevrons on shoulders and shorts sides).

............................................22 Theo Zagar
21 Riccardo Monguia...4 Peter Sarantopoulos...2 Marco Reda...16 Rick Titus
25 Martin Dugas...6 Nikola Vignjevic...8 Brian Ashton...13 Kevin Holness
........................15 Adolfo Mella...7 Dwayne DeRosario

Subs:...1 Hubert Busby (gk)...24 Robert Irvine (mid)...18 Brian Jeffrey (fwd)...11 Sarsani Aton (fwd)...9 Andrijevic Nikola (def).

Persepolis of Tehran (red socks, shorts, and shirts, white numbers and sleeves)

.....................................1 Ahmad Abedzadeh WC
4 Berouz Rabirifar...5 Afshin Payravani WC...8 Mehdi Hasheminasab...23 Ali Reza Emanmifar
15 Esmail Hellali (Int)...17 Mehdi Mahdavikia WC*...12 Hossein Abdi (cpt)...11 Hamed Kavianpour
......................10 Edmond Bezik...20 Ali Baghmisheh

*Mehdi Mahdavikia scored the winning goal in the Iran vs USA World Cup game in France 2-1.
WC--participant in the 1998 World Cup.
Int--has earned at least one cap on the Iranian National team.

Subs:...2 Yahya Golmohamadi (def)(Int)...18 Kamran Kavianpour (mid)...1 Magtaba Rezai (gk)...3 Naeem Saadavi (def)WC...6 Hamid Motaheri (mid)...9 Behnam Seraj (fwd)WC

Game Officials:...referee Al Pereira...referee's assistants Frank Marciello and Zoran Kristo, 4th Steve Cahoon.

The announcers for this game were local Iranians and they botched up the pronounciation of the Lynx players' names. The ball boys were all local Iranian kids as they fawned all over the Persepolis players at the pre-game photo op leaving the Lynx players alone on their half of the field.
1st Half:...Lynx defend north actually kicks off at 2:40pm.
2 min...Lynx goalie makes point blank save on shot in box after corner kick from right.
3 min...Lynx goalie gets to through ball before Pers Baghmisheh.
4 min...Pers Baghmisheh cross from left across box goes behind touch line.
9 min...Lynx Dugas rolls 20 yard shot wide right of post after receiving short pass.
11 min...Pers Emamifar leaps over Lynx Monguia resulting in freekick being awarded on left edge of box.
12 min...Pers Bezik freekick from left goes into left side mesh of net.
15 min...Pers Baghmisheh and Bezik miss cross from right in box.
15 min...Pers goalie outraces Lynx DeRosario for through ball.
16 min...Pers Abdi 40 yard kick well wide right.
18 min...Lynx Vignjevic puts ball too far forward for Lynx DeRosario to get to it in box.
19 min...Pers Bezik header from 18 yards caught by Lynx goalie.
20 min...Pers Baghmisheh rolls ball to goalie while surrounded by four Lynx players on edge of box.
20 min...Pers Bezik rolls 15 yard shot wide right after good pass by Pers Baghmisheh.
21 penalty called as Pers player dives in box.
22 min...Pers Hasheminasab player injured in own box as Lynx offside.
26 min...Lynx Titus has 10 yard shot on left blocked by defenders after Lynx Vignjevic corner from right.
27 min...Lynx DeRosario sidesteps defender but 10 yard chip into left mesh of goal.
28 min...Pers Payravani brings down Lynx Holness in box as he races through. Penalty kick called.
29 min...Lynx GOAL...Vignjevic penalty kick low to left corner, goalie dives over it.
31 min...Pers Emamifar spins backward header on leeft edgo of box but ball bounces to Lynx goalie.
33 min...Pers YELLOW card...Emamifar kicks Lynx Monguia near center of field.
35 min...Lynx players caught on numberous offsides now and in the last few minutes.
37 min...Pers Bezik chip shot from edge of box hits bar Pers Baghnisheh runs for rebound and 10 yard shot caught by goalie would recovered leap back fall on his back.
39 min...Lynx Monguia cross from right headed on popup wide of left of net by Lynx Titus.
41 min...Pers YELLOW card...Mahdavikia for kicking ball at Lynx defender when Lynx Sarantopoulos pulled down in Lynx box by Pers forward resulting in a freekick.
43 min...Pers Mahdavikia 'hand of God' whistled down as he plays it off Lynx Sarantopoulos head.
45 min...Pers Mahdavikia chips shot wide right as he's ridden off ball.
46 min...half stopped.

2nd Half:......starts 3:45pm...sunny periods.
halftime subs:...Pers Seraj replaces Baghmisheh (Mahdavikia and Bezik are now the forwards).
46 min...Pers goalie catches long bouncer.
49 min...Pers Kavianpour corner from right cleard by Lynx defender's header.
50 min...Pers Abdi chip from 30 yards rolls right to goalie.
55 min...Lynx DeRosario 35 yard shot from right line well wide right.
56 min...Lynx goalie catches long cross into box from 40 yards out.
56 min...Pers Rabirifar 35 yard shot from right is caught by goalie.
57 min...Lynx Mella blast on sharp left angle from 10 yards caught by goalie.
58 min...Lynx sub...Nikola replaces Reda.
59 min...Pers Hotaheri replaces Abdi.
61 min...Pers Motaheri 40 yard shot hight over bar.
63 min...Lynx goalie punches out ball in box.
64 min...Lynx defender clears Pers Bezik shot for corner.
65 min...Pers Bezik diving header from 12 yards wide left of post.
66 min...Pers Kavianpour sliding tackle trip on Lynx Mella stops breakaway at center.
68 min...Pers goalie grabs ball tipped into box after good effort from Lynx Mella.
69 min...Lynx sub...Irvine replaces Vignjevic.
69 min...Lynx goalie tips 15 yard bullet shot wide right on diving save.
70 min...Pers Bezik gets away weak 12 yard shot rolls to goalie.
71 min...Pers Hellali shot from wide right curled high over bar.
73 min...Lynx Irvine blasts 20 yard shot well over bar after good pass set up by Lynx Dugas.
74 min...Lynx Dugas holds off four defenders sipes as he races in from 50 yards, and his 12 yard shot from left saved by goalie.
75 min...Pers Motaheri cross from right caught by goalie.
78 min...Lynx Mella lays up for Lynx Irvine to blast 20 yard shot well over bar.
79 min...Pers Seraj chests cross wide left of goal.
80 min...Lynx Ashton after run takes 25 yard blast over bar.
82 min...Lynx Irvine 25 yard shot from right is wide left of post.
83 min...Lynx GOAL...Holness beats offside trap and banks shot in off right post on weak chipper from 12 yards over sprawled Pers goalie.
84 min...Lynx YELLOW card...Ashton for pushing match in Pers end.
..............Pers YELLOW card...Rabirifar for pushing match in Pers end.
85 min...Lynx goalie dives to save cross bouncing to right post.
88 min...Lynx Aton replaces DeRosario.
..............Lynx Jeffrey replaces Mella.
89 min...Lynx Titus gets head to cross from left to prevent Pers player getting shot.
90 min...Pers Golmohamadi twist header from right post but wide left after corner from right.
91 min...Lynx Jeffrey rolls weak shot to goalie that goalie picks up finishing good Lynx run.
end 92 min.

Final Score:.........Toronto Lynx.......2.....Persepolis.......0.....

The Lynx players race across the width of the field to salute the crowd to wide boos from the fans. This may have been the answer to the Persepolis players who did the same thing before the game began.

The crowd looked like 7000 people but I heard it was about 3000 something. I might be getting used to the Lynx A-League estimated crowds were are rumoured to be well padded. I couldn't see any regular Lynx fans for this game. The Lynxster mascot appeared before the game but did not show up during the game or between halfs. There was no Lynx merchandise booth open today. Persepolis supporters had the booth and sold replica jerseys and Iranian flags. The tickets were $30 against the Lynx usual $8 and appear to have been sold within the Iranian community. I was surprized that only the Canadian national anthem was played. The national anthem wasn't booed but everything else the Lynx did was, I wasn't surprized as I'd seen that reaction for the Canada-Iran friendly at this stadium in 1997.

The Iranians had their own version of 'jock rock' sport songs. They played Gipsy Kings and Gary Glitter same as North America and the techno song 'Popcorn' which I hadn't heard in years. Also a piped in song of chants of 'Iran, Iran, Iran' to get the crowd going.

It was my choice not to take my Canadian flag. I underestimated the international nature of the game. I had just seen the Canadian Women's team beat Mexico the night before to qualify for the World Cup in 1999. I didn't expect much with the Lynx losing a tough game to Rochester Raging Rhinos less than 24 hours earlier to finish their season at 9 wins and 18 losses. They were in a slump and the owners had traded away much of their meagre offense a few weeks earlier. The opponents were the best team in Iran winning the most recent Iranian championship then the team being allowed to sit out the next season since so many players were on the National team. A-League Vancouver 86ers had earned a 1-1 tie the week before. I expected the Lynx to be beaten badly.

I was really surprized to see Dwayne DeRosario playing for the Lynx. Since this was a friendly, it didn't jeopardize his contracts with any European club neither in Germany where he's trying to leave nor Israel where he's trying to catch on. He looked great keeping the defenders on their toes.

The press box was crowded with Iranian journalists. Biggest fan seemed to be Canadian Soccer Association media director Mehrdad Masoudi who was decked out in his 'Iran 98' soccer jersey. When I first stated this on a Canadian soccer message board, I created a wave of debate whether it was appropriate. I was disgusted at the time but saw him wear it during the Women's tournament on one of Canada's 'off nights' so I wasn't all that surprized. Still if it wasn't for him, the 'Anglo' speaking press box wouldn't have the first names of the Persepolis team.

After the Lynx 2nd goal, I pounded the table so hard every head must have turned to see what I was doing. With all the teeth gnashing for every Persepolis chance, it was a great release of tension.

On the way home, there was a bit of Iranian car horn honking but at a stop light at Bloor and Yonge walking to the station (St George station had a fire truck in front of it so I walked east), I jestered at my Lynx t-shirt and drew cheers from the car.

This was, I felt, the biggest win of the season for the Lynx and can be used and remembered for years to come by the team's publicity marketing department.

Rocket Robin

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