Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to Maccabi Petach Tikva 0:3 in the second round of the Toto Cup competition at Bloomfield Stadium. The Yellow-and-Blue went down by two goals in the first half and couldn’t find a way back into the match. The evening was hilighted by the introduction of new acquisitions Eli Dasa and Shlomi Azulay to the supporters in attendance.
Head Coach Slavisa Jovanovic went into the match with a starting lineup featuring many youngsters and some players who have yet to get game action. 16-year old Haviv Ohayon got his first ever start for the senior side as he opened in goal in place of first-choice ‘keeper Juan Pablo, giving the veteran some much needed rest.
Dan Glazer also received his first start playing as the holding midfielder allowing Dor Peretz to play more of an advanced role as Sean Goldberg played left back. Carlos Garcia wore the captain’s armband and started in central defense as Yoav Ziv, Eitan Tibi, Nikola Mitrovic, Dor Micha, Gili Vermouth and Barak Badash who was also making his first start filled out the rest of the lineup.
Prior to the match new recruits Eli Dasa and Shlomi Azulay were introduced to the supporters on hand as they were presented with their new jerseys and numbers. Dasa will wear the number 2 jersey while Azulay will wear 16.
Maccabi began the game well as striker Badash had three chances in the opening minutes but all were off target. Once both teams began to settle down, Petach Tikva looked to capitalize on Maccabi’s errors and did exactly that. Xavier Thomas scored for the visitors in the 30th minute as he headed the ball into the back of the Tel Aviv goal. Dor Hugi doubled the score just 6 minutes later scoring on a shot to the bottom right hand corner from 16 metres out beating ‘keeper Ohayon to give Petach Tikva a 0:2 lead.
Barak Itzahki came in as a substitute after the halftime break for Dan Glazer to trying to ignite the offense as Eran Zahavi, Nosa Igiebor and Omri Ben Harush joined him on the pitch replacing Badash, Goldberg and Peretz in the 54th minute.
However, the comeback was stalled in the 69th minute as Yoav Ziv picked up a red card for pulling down a Petach Tikva player in the box, but the ensuing penalty kick by Joachim Mununga was saved by Ohayon to keep the deficit at 0:2. Yuval Shpungin then replaced Gili Vermouth in the 72nd minute for 10-man Maccabi to try and settle down the defense.
Unfortunately there were no miracles tonight as the Yellow-and-Blue couldn’t find a way to beat ‘keeper Itzak Gigi as they gave up a 90th minute goal to Gidi Kanuk as the final whistle was blown to end the game 0:3. Maccabi have now been shutout at Bloomfield by Petach Tikva two matches in a row dating back to the final game of the 2014/15 season when they were defeated by a 0:2 score.
Maccabi will now turn their focus to the Israel Champions Cup on Saturday night when they face Kiryat Shemona and the Champions League playoff match in Basel next week.