Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Maccabi Petach Tikva 2:1 as ‘keeper Daniel Lifshitz who was making his Yellow-and-Blue debut saw red in the 87th minute and winger Tal Ben Chaim finished the match in goal.
What an amazing game we had on Matchday Seven at the Moshava Stadium after the International break. A lead, tie, a lead again, a red card for Lifshitz in his debut and winger Tal Ben Chaim in goal. Not to mention Oz Rali also made his first Maccabi start as well. But it was the late drama that secured the 2:1 win and three points on goals by Carlos Garcia and Eran Zahavi.
Head Coach Slavisa Jokanovic started the match off with ‘keeper Daniel Lifshitz making his first start for Maccabi in place of an ill Predrag Rajkovic and with a trio of central defenders Tal Ben Haim, Eitan Tibi and Carlos Garcia playing in front of him. Avi Rikan and Oz Rali who was also making his debut were the defensive backs with a midfield of Gal Alberman, Dor Peretz, Gili Vermouth just behind captain Eran Zahavi and striker Barak Itzhaki.
Action in the first half began quickly as Carlos Garcia and Joachim Mununga saw yellow in the 2nd minute while Mohamed Kalebet would have the opening chance of the match in the 4th minute with Lifshitz knocking the ball away for a corner kick.
However, it was Maccabi Tel Aviv who would strike first as Zahavi lofted a gorgeous free kick that Itzhaki caught with his foot to the right of the goal and Garcia finished it off by putting the ball into the back of the Petach Tikva goal to go ahead 1:0 in the 20th minute. After Zahavi and Kalebat traded chances it was Petach Tikva’s turn to get onto the scoreboard. Guy Melamed’s free kick from 35 meters out fooled the Maccabi defense and trickled behind Lifshitz to even up the score as the teams headed into the lockerrooms deadlocked at 1:1.
The second half began with Jokanovic taking out central defender Ben Haim for Nikola Mitrovic and moving the team back to its standard four defenders in the back. A little bit later winger Tal Ben Chaim came on for Itzhaki and Dor Micha was introduced in place of Oz Rali. Just minutes after Maccabi’s final substitution the Yellow-and-Blue were rewarded with a penalty kick in the 79th minute as Xavier Thomas pulled down Ben Chaim in the box.
A deep pass by Avi Rikan found Ben Chaim in the box who was subsequently taken down by Thomas as Zahavi converted from the spot to give Maccabi a 2:1 lead. But the fun was only beginning when Maccabi would lose a man in the 87th minute and unfortunately that would be ‘keeper Daniel Lifshitz.
The Swedish born Lifshitz was shown a red card when he took down Oz Peretz outside of the box forcing winger Ben Chaim to pull on the ‘keeper’s shirt due to Maccabi having used all of their substitutions. The winger turned ‘keeper was up to the task as he made a kick save off of a free kick to preserve the lead and help pick up the valuable three points right before the club heads to Porto for a Champions League clash on Tuesday night.