Maccabi Tel Aviv ushered in a new era with Dutch coach Peter Bosz on the sidelines on Matchday 18 of the Israel WINNER League
The Yellow-and-Blue sent the fans into delirium as their side went on an impressive offensive assault throughout the 90 minutes against Roni Levy’s overmatched Maccabi Haifa side winning 2:1. Tal Ben Chaim shredded the Greens defense time after time as Dor Micha seemed to be able to pass the ball at will to his teammates. But of course it would be the captain Eran Zahavi who would play hero scoring the club’s first goal while Ben Chaim collected the second. Yossi Benayoun gave Haifa hope with his 70th minute strike but Maccabi held on for the final minutes of heart palpitating football to take the 3-points and stay within one of Hapoel Beer Sheva at the top of the table.
New Head Coach Peter Bosz featured a lineup of Captain Eran Zahavi up front wth Tal Ben Chaim and Dor Micha by his sides. Nikola Mitrovic, Nosa Igiebor and Gal Alberman patrolled the midfield while Eitan Tibi, Omri Ben Harush and veteran defender Tal Ben Haim played in front of Serbian keeper Predrag Raijkovic.
The first half began at a frantic pace as Maccabi Tel Aviv went on the attack early and often playing a 4-3-3 formation. The Yellow-and-Blue’s first chance came in the 6th minute when Mitrovic sent Zahavi a terrific ball, but the Greens keeper Vladimir Stoykovich was in the right place to make the save. Six minutes later, Ben Chaim also had a nice chance but the Haifa shot stopper made the save yet again. Tibi, playing left back provided Igiebor with a fantastic opportunity but his effort went high over the bar to keep the match goalless.
The home side continued to race around the pitch and their determination paid off. In the 32nd minute Zahavi would cash in off a gorgeous pass by Micha, as the captain would score his 20th goal of the season. Just four minutes later Zahavi played kingmaker giving Ben Chaim a fabulous pass as the winger turned Aied Hashbi inside out to score on a curling shot into the right hand corner of the Haifa goal. The Yellow-and-Blue continued to press for the balance of the half as Maccabi took a 2:0 lead into the break.
The second half began like a mirror of the first as the Yellow-and-Blue continued their offensive control of the match. In the 50th minute Zahavi had a chance to collect his second goal of the evening but he failed to convert on his spot kick from 11 meters as Stoykovich dove to his left to paw the ball to safety. Mitrovic, Igiebor and Ben Chaim all had chances soon thereafter but their efforts missed the target to keep the score as is.
However, all was not lost for the Greens as their captain Yossi Benayoun would smash home a rebound in the 70th minute to cut the Maccabi lead to 2:1 just after midfielder Mitrovic was substituted off to a standing ovation in favor of Shlomi Azulay. Dor Micha would also leave to a round of applause in the 85th minute as Gili Vermouth came onto the pitch in his place.
Over the final few minutes of the match, Haifa unleashed wave after wave of attack but their efforts came up empty as Maccabi held on for the 2:1 win.