Hapoel Beer Sheva: The Darling of the Desert! The Good, The Bad, The Ugly & The Bottom Line!
The Sports Rabbi headed down to Beer Sheva for a clash between 3-0 Hapoel Beer Sheva, who were looking to remain on top with Maccabi Tel Aviv with four victories & Bnei Yehuda who have not gotten off to a fast start with only 3 points out of a possible 9 to begin the season. Well we got to see the visitors get off to a kick start with a 14th minute header goal by Oz Rali that totally froze the Beer Sheva ‘keeper Austine Ejide and a frantic ending with newcomer Glynor Plet heading in the tying mark and Nicolas Falczuk hitting in the winner in injury time to send the Beer Sheva faithful into delirium. A great game, a great atmosphere and great players make all the difference in this week’s matchup!
To see Hapoel Beer Sheva come back from a 1-0 deficit in the dying minutes of a match is always good. Not just from a fan’s perspective but it also gives a team who is going from pretender to contender the confidence to know that, yes, we can play with the big boys. Yes, we can go head to head with Maccabi Tel Aviv at the top of the table. And Yes, the title has not yet been decided after just 4 rounds of play in Israel. Eliyaniv Barda was on form last evening and new signing Glynor Plet showed why Hapoel Beer Sheva picked up the young Dutchman who was able to again grace a pitch with Barda at his side. Manager Elisha Levy did a masterful job with his substitutions introducing the aforementioned Plet in the 60th minute, Tomer Suissa who came on in the 65th minute was terrific in picking up the pace and of course game winning goal scorer Nikolas Falczuk was the last but definitely not least addition onto the pitch in the 81st minute and scored in the 91st! In the back Hapoel Beer Sheva received solid performances from up and coming star Ofir Davidzada and Ben Biton.
One must give credit to Bnei Yehuda ‘keeper Dele Aiyenugba as well. He played as well as any one could with Hapoel Beer Sheva launching attack after attack, but the Nigerian international kept a clean sheet all the way to the 87th minute. Whether it was a high ball, a corner kick, a free kick or any type of kick he snagged, swiped and kept every ball out of the back of the net. It was only until Bnei Yehuda was reduced to 10 men losing Kestutis Ivaskevicius from Lithuania to a second yellow card from a questionable hand ball that Beer Sheva finally scored.
Bnei Yehuda’s manager Dror Kasthan’s lack of making substitutes until it was too late and not getting fresh legs out onto the pitch until the damage was done. Kashtan made a half time change bringing on Nes Zamir for Amir Agaiev and should have made a defensive move around the time his counterpart brought on Plet & Suissa, but did not. I was sure at the time it was going to cost him as I said to the people next to me and lo and behold it did. Kashtan has been around long enough to know that A) you can’t nurse a 1-0 lead all game; B) save your subs until after disaster hits; and C) not realize that you are playing a team with a lot of offensive weapons.
We can also call out referee Roie Rhineshrieber on issuing the 2nd yellow card to Kestutis Ivaskevicius for his hand ball that was completely unintentional outside of the box. Kashtan’s first words to the media after the match that it was the ref who ruined the game. I don’t buy it, but his point is well taken.
Vasermil Stadium, current home of Hapoel Beer Sheva. This was my first trip down to Beer Sheva in many years and boy does the club need to get out of there as fast as possible, and they will very soon! The new stadium is under construction and will be a huge benefit for sports fans around Israel and those visiting the city for a game of football! Exciting pictures and progress is being made and you can see their Facebook page to check it out yourselves! I won’t go into how poorly Vasermil is constructed and how far some of the seats are since this place will soon be history, but sheesh, poor fans to have to come there and poor teams that have to play there!
The Bottom Line:
Next week’s match will be a very good litmus test for Hapoel Beer Sheva as they head to Haifa and a Sunday night game of the week date with struggling Maccabi Haifa. This match will provide a number of important trials for the Desert Darlings including a tough stadium & raucous crowd especially the Green Apes, and a team who although have not been playing to their potential can match up with the Beer Sheva players at most positions. The trip up north will also be a homecoming for Elisha Levy who recently coached the Greens and would only love the opportunity to walk out of Kiryat Eliezer Stadium with 3 more points and a 5-0 record.
I’m looking forward to the game and so should you! Sunday 8:40pm Local Time on IBA!