Hapoel Tel Aviv 0-2 Beitar Jerusalem
The Sports Rabbi was in the stands or more like the insane asylum last night with my hometown Beitar Jerusalem fans. Only a club like Beitar could bring more than 4,000 supporters to an away match and this one was at Bloomfield Stadium against Hapoel Tel Aviv.
You could say that Jerusalem has the best fans and there are some which would say the exact opposite. Where the truth lies is probably somewhere in the middle but one thing is for certain, ONLY Beitar travels to away games in numbers like we saw last night year in and year out. No one can argue that point.
Celebrating Dov’s 15th birthday, we both were decked out in our finest yellow and black along with the all of the other Jerusalemies. Having found our way to one of the last rows in the area where Beitar would score both of their goals in the second half we settled in early in anticipation for a heated rivalry to explode as it usually does.
We reminisced about a match two years back when Beitar had defeated The Reds 2-0 just before the infamous signing of the Chechnyan Muslim players Sadayev & Kadayev and hoped that a similar result would play out once again.
However, one never knows what will happen, the script is not written beforehand in sports it gets written down as the 90 minutes go by on the pitch. The drama, the tension, the ecstasy of victory and the agony of defeat, for this is true theatre in the purest sense.
As the match approached and both teams marched onto the pitch as the Ligat Ha’Al anthem played one could feel the stadium vibrate about to explode as passions ran high on the opposite ends of the field. Both sides unfurled banners with Beitar lighting up the night! Magnificent pyrotechnics from the pyro maniacs were seen by all as the Beltar fans wante a win in the worst way!
The first half played out to a dull 0-0 45 minutes filled with, well, not much. One could say it was the poorest half of play this year from ANY & ALL matches for the season. Not fun to watch and not many chances by either side as everyone waited for the next half to begin munching on sunflower seeds and smoking cigarettes. (Even though it is now illegal to do so at outside sports venues, but apparently not enforced)
Hapoel started off the last 45 minutes strong, but then Beitar started to play their game. Controlling the tempo and pressuring the the Reds defense, ‘keeper Dani Amos and his defenders finally made a mistake by making a poor clearing pass that was picked off by Beitar midfielder Shlomi Azoulay. Azoulay’s eyes must have lit up like a Christmas Tree when he saw Amos handling the ball knowing an error would be right around the corner. He calmly slid the ball over to a wide open Zarko Korac who tapped it home for an easy “my grandmother could score” goal.
Beitar supporters went crazy in delight swarming around sections 8-12 like bumble bees waiting for another chance to sting their prey. And sting they did.
Just 10 minutes later as we hit the 70th tick on the clock a well placed Eli Dasa ball from the right side made it’s way into the box and found a head first diving Korac who knocked the all into Amos but the rebound was pumped in by Hanan Maman giving Beitar a valuable 2nd goal.
However, the game didn’t end there, more drama was needed on this night and we got just that when Hapoel Tel Aviv was awarded a penalty with less than 10 minutes remaing in the contest.
But it was sweet revenge for Boris Kleiman who dove to his left and swatted away Israel Zaguri’s misplaced chance to save the shutout for the away side and send the Hapoel fans heading towards the exits as quickly as possible.
As time expired Beitar supporters stayed long wafted the final whistle singing and dancing in the aisles as their heroes bowed, clapped, laughed and enjoyed the moment as everyone savored the victory.
It’s fun to win, but it’s even more fun to beat Hapoel Tel Aviv especially in their own house. It doesn’t get any sweeter than that.
Happy Birthday Dov! I know it was great!