Hapoel Haifa 2:4 Maccabi Haifa
What a game of the week! Finally on Monday night the floodgates finally opened and we saw lots or goals, a red card, a penalty goal, a brace and did we mention that this was the Haifa Derby to boot?
An incredible game of football unfolded at Sammy Ofer Stadium with Hapoel hosting Maccabi for bragging rights in the city on the Carmel mountain. The Reds struck first as Tomer Suissa scored a gorgeous free kick goal in the opening minutes of the match. Just a few minutes later, Hapoel captain Oshri Roash was issued a red card for a violent foil on Greens striker Glynor Plet. Was it truly a red? That’s up for debate, but Roash should have been a bit smarter than committing such a flagrant foul right in front of referee Eli Hachmon.
With Hapoel now reduced to 10-men Maccabi should’ve been able to get right back into the match, correct? Well not quite. Another questionable call by Hachmon in the box saw Plet commit a foul that led to a penalty in favor of Hapoel which Suissa coolly converted for the 2:0 lead just 17 minutes into the game.
The Greens now shell shocked needed to find a way back into the game and it finally occurred just a couple of minutes before the break as Eliran Atar out the finishing touches on Maccabi’s first goal while Ismael Rian scored the second to head into halftime all knotted up at 2:2.
Maccabi Haifa coach Roni Levy brought in captain Yossi Benayoun in the 58th minute as number 15 replaced Neta Lavi making his debut for the First Team. Benayoun would have a wonderful opportunity as he split the defense but he couldn’t finish the job as his weak shot was smothered by Reds keeper Kovar.
As time ticked by the Greens began to press and look desperately for winner and they would finally find it late in the second half on a goal by Dekel Keinan who headed the ball past Kovar from a right side corner kick. Plet then put the icing on the cake for a 4:2 win and a third league victory in a row leaving Hapoel in absolute shambles heading into the second round of matches.