Beitar Jerusalem 1-2 Maccabi Tel Aviv
In front of 19k fans at Teddy stadium including over 5k Maccabi fans that made their way from Tel Aviv, the defending champions defeated a weak Beitar Jerusalem club 2-1. With veteran manager Roni Levy sitting in the stands along with owner Eli Tabib, the home side was playing under assistant coach David Amsalem after Eli Cohen was fired last week and the results on the pitch didn’t differ much from the past.
Maccabi Tel Aviv put the pressure on in the first minutes of the game and lo and behold, they scored less than two ticks into the match to give the visitors a 1-0 lead which sent their fans into ecstasy. Beitar should have been better prepared for this as Maccabi has been pulling this trick off game after game be it in the first minutes of the first half (see last wk vs. Raanana) or at the beginning of the second half once a subsitute or two had been made (see Eran Zahavi vs. Ramat HaSharon at Ramat Gan stadium).
Less than two minutes into the match Rada Prica slotted home an easy goal off an intelligent pass by high IQ player Zahavi against Beitar ‘keeper Ariel Harush who has been spectacular this season keeping Beitar in many games they should have had no business being including this one.
We can say Maccabi did not play one of their best games and took the pedal off the metal on more than one occasion, but somehow they finished the first half with a 2-0 lead. Barack Yitzhaki scored a sweet goal against his former club and to his great credit did not celebrate in front of the Jerusalem fans which included his dad.
Sure there were times throughout the match that Beitar tried to get things going but against a defense that included Eitan Tibi & Carlos Garcia it was a very difficult night to break through and score. Tibi & Garcia were continuously in the line of fire and time after time were able to clear one ball after the next. Maccabi was also helped by some of Beitar’s player such as Sintiyahu Sollalich (subbed out at halftime) who don’t know when to look around for help and pass the ball instead of taking weak shot after shot without a chance of breaking through the Tel Aviv brick wall.
It seemed that Paulo Sousa’s Maccabi Tel Aviv looked at this game as a glorified scrimmage and preparation for their Europa League match vs. Bordeaux on Thursday night and a derby against Hapoel on Monday evening. The second half saw Bryan Jones score a magnificent goal from 20 meters out in the 83rd minute for Beitar but it was too little, too late for the big comeback for the home side, and it’s clear that new, old coach Roni Levy has a lot of work to do and a full plate going into the next round of matches.