Hapoel Tel Aviv 4-1 Maccabi Haifa
What can you say. Maccabi Haifa dominated Hapoel Tel Aviv top to bottom tonight at Bloomfield stadium for their first win against the Reds since the 2009/10 season in round 4.
The Greens offense and game plan. Coach Arik Benado showed that he still has what it takes to turn around a team when all feel they may be down and out. Just as he did last year for Haifa, he is in the process of doing it again this season. With a class win over a tough opponent in Hapoel and a team that have given Haifa fits in the past, the midfield cut off pretty much every Hapoel attempt and contained the powerful offense of the Reds.
Other than a Omer Damari hiccup at the beginning of the game to give Hapoel their short lived lead it was all Haifa on the scoresheet after that. With Hapoel controlling the tempo and pace of the first half Hiafa was happy to escape with a 1-1 deadlock after 45 minutes with their goal coming on a Shimon Abuheitzeira strike that went in off of Branko Ilic of Hapoel.
But the second half was all Haifa as Ruben Rayos scored on a fabulous free kick, Turgeman on a brutal keeper error by Boris Kleiman and a Shimon Abuheitzeira penalty. It was a good night for Arik Benado and his charges that is for sure.
Hapoel Tel Aviv and coach Ran Ben Shimon were unable to break through the clogged up Haifa midfield. They couldn’t get their playmakers free to make the important passes to the strikers Itay Schecter and Damari. Gili Vermuth had a weak game in that department and Roie Gordana was no where to be found. That was fortunate for Bojan Sharanov as the Haifa keeper gave up two goals and did not look sharp when tested and that has to be of concern to Haifa going forward.
Ran Ben Shimon didn’t orchestrate his offense well enough and he didn’t adjust to the classic 4-4-2 lineup Benado threw at him. With Hen Ezra out of the lineup for Haifa they actually played like a team. Each player knew their role and didn’t stray from it. The coaching staff kept encouraging them on and that made all the difference.
Thankfully nothing! Great fans on both sides, singing, dancing and just having a great time watching some nice football and a 6 goal display by the two teams. Even when Hapoel went 4-1 down with minutes remaining the Reds fans continued to sing to their players in a game that was a terrific show for Football Israel!
The Bottom Line:
Maccabi Haifa won for the second straight match and have moved incredibly to only 9 points from first place Maccabi Tel Aviv and one point behind Hapoel Tel Aviv. Who would have thunk that! We had goals galore this round and we still have one more game to go! Who could ask for more!