By Patrick Mason
Strong play and an organized effort pushed Persia to a 3-2 victory over Sigma Pi on Wednesday night in the Bubble.
The match was marred by poor officiating, though. Many calls were missed, and several players said it seemed the officials were not even paying attention to the match.
Maysam Takapoo, an Iowa research faculty member, said that he felt the referees weren’t “into the game.”
“The officials did a very poor job,” Takapoo said. “They need to be paying attention, blow the whistles with some force to show that they can control a game when it is needed. They also need to know the rules on key plays.”
The play in question occurred near the end of the match as Persia goalkeeper Alireza Mofidi grabbed a corner kick in front of the net. Mofidi was outside of the keeper’s box, which resulted in an indirect kick; while the players knew this, the officials did not. Both teams yelled about where to place the ball, and play stopped for around five minutes before everything was straightened out.
But the officiating problems didn’t stop Persia and Sigma Pi from putting on a show.
Mofidi played well in goal, as he made a series of acrobatic plays with the game on the line.
“He was definitely our MVP of the night,” Takapoo said. “Even my parents who came to watch said they enjoyed seeing him jump around and stop ‘those hard shots.’ He kept us in the game when we went down an early goal due to some defensive issues, but we rallied and prevailed.”
Persia was shut out for the first half, and entered the second down a goal. Persia scored back-to-back goals within four minutes of each other, but Sigma Pi answered in the 33rd minute to tie the game.
Persia striker Foad Khoshouei scored his second goal of the game with a minute remaining to put his team up for good.
“They definitely outplayed us,” Sigmi Pi’s Taylor Boegel said. “It was a little intimidating to see Persia in full soccer gear with jerseys on before the game, while we had on basketball shorts and old shirts. But I thought we played surprisingly well against them, but they just came through at the end when I thought we had a chance after tying the game.”
Sigma Pi walked off the pitch after the game, but Persia stayed and formed a circle. Takapoo walked his players, congratulating each one before walking over and hugging his parents after a hard-fought win.