Maccabi Tel Aviv took on Hapoel Beer Sheva in a classic 1-2 matchup with first place on the line on Matchday 15 of the WINNER League at Bloomfield Stadium
Head Coach Slavisa Jokanovic began the match with a back four of Eli Dasa, Tal Ben Haim, Carlos Garcia and Omri Ben Harush in front of keeper Predrag Rajkovic. Gal Alberman, Nosa Igiebor, Dor Peretz and Gili Vermouth manned the midfield while striker Eden Ben Basat made his return to the starting lineup with the captain Eran Zahavi right behind him.
Both teams started the match looking for a goal but it was the visitors from Beer Sheva who struck first. In the 3rd minute Maor Melikson delivered a ball into the Maccabi box from the right side that glanced off defender Ben Harush right to Hapoel captain Elyaniv Barda who put it behind Rajkovic to take a very quick 1:0 lead. Minutes later Maccabi put the pedal to the medal looking for an equalizer, however Igiebor’s attempt from just outside of the Beer Sheva box missed Goresh’s goal by inches.
Zahavi’s 16th minute effort from 17 meters out also just went wide of the right post as Maccabi continued to mount pressure trying to draw even. In the 26th minute Zahavi’s masterful deep cross found Dasa on the right side of the box with no one to beat but the keeper but his 6 meter shot went wide to the left of the goal.
After Beer Sheva defender Shir Tzedek picked up the game’s first yellow card in the 31st minute, the desert Reds scored their second goal of the match in the 39th minute to double their lead to 2:0. Mahran Radi passed the ball quickly up to Melikson just across the midfield and beat an oncoming Rajkoivic who was way out of his area to score from roughly 40 meters out.
The Yellow-and-Blue would have a chance to cut the lead when Vermouth found Zahavi in the box but his header just went by the post to keep the score at 2:0 in favor of Beer Sheva as the sides headed into the break.
Jokanovic made a pair of substitutions to begin the second half in order to jump start the stagnant Maccabi offense bringing in winger Tal Ben Chaim and striker Barak Itzhaki in favor of Ben Basat and Peretz. But just minutes into the half Ben Chaim and Igiebor each picked up a yellow card from referee Ziv Adler. As midfield play dominated the majority of the second frame, the yellow card parade continued with Dasa, Barda, Garcia, Ben Turgeman and Itzhaki all collecting one.
In the 84th minute out of nowheres, the Yellow-and-Blue finally broke through the stingy Beer Sheva defense as Dasa’s effort from an Alberman free kick hit off of Barda and bounced into the goal to cut the lead to 2:1. Unfortunately for Maccabi it wasn’t enough on this night as attack after attack was stopped in its tracks by Beer Sheva as the visitors collected the three points and the win.