Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Hapoel Acre 3:0 in the northern coastal city on Matchday 19 of the WINNER League as Dutch coach Peter Bosz maintained his perfect record
The Yellow-and-Blue collected another three points to stay within one point of first place Hapoel Beer Sheva with the help of Tal Ben Chaim’s first half marker, Nosa Igiebor’s goal and Shlomi Azulay’s second of the season. Acre had a man sent off early on in the match as Hatem Obida was shown a red card in the 5th minute for kicking Eran Zahavi to the ground.
Head Coach Peter Bosz’s starting XI was similar to his first match with the club as the Dutchman started Predrag Rajikovic in goal with a back four of Eitan Tibi, Omri Ben Harush, Carlos Garcia and Tal Ben Haim. Gal Alberman took his usual position as the defensive midfielder along with Shlomi Azulay and Nosa Igiebor with a on attacking threesome of Tal Ben Chaim, Dor Micha and Captain Eran Zahavi.
It didn’t take long for the action to heat up while the wind and cold air swirled around the Acre Municipal Stadium. In the 5th minute, Acre’s Hatem Obida kicked Maccabi captain Zahavi who crumpled to the ground far away from the run of play. After consulting with the linesman, referee Sahar Arbeli handed the home side’s central defender a red card forcing Acre to play with only 10-men for the balance of the match.
Being a man to the good, the Yellow-and-Blue controlled the ball for large portions of the half. Zahavi would have a number of quality chances, first in the 11th minute as his free kick went wide of the goal. Number 7’s 23rd minute effort from a tough angle was picked off by Acre keeper Dani Amos and his 31st minute scissors kick opportunity was saved by the shot stopper as well.
In the 43rd minute, Maccabi finally broke through with the wind in their faces. Alberman cleanly stripped the ball from Adnan Zahirovic and smartly played it to Ben Chaim. The speedster raced into the box and launched a screamer past Amos to give his team a 1:0 lead as the match headed into the break.
To open the second half, Head Coach Peter Bosz made a tactical substitution taking off central defender Garcia for striker Barak Itzhaki to try and open up the Maccabi attack. However, aside from an Igiebor chance in the 60th minute few opportunities presented themselves to the Yellow-and-Blue. Bosz made an additional substitution in the 67th minute introducing striker Eden Ben Basat for Ben Chaim who had earlier picked up a yellow card.
Just two minutes later, Maccabi doubled their lead as Igiebor calmly slotted the ball by Amos to go up 2:0. Igiebor took an amazing pass in the box from Itzhaki and went in all alone on the Acre keeper to score his second league goal of the season. The visitors looked for another marker but Itzhaki’s scorcher clanged off of the bar, Alberman’s long distance effort was collected by Amos and Ben Basat’s header went out. However, Azulay fixed the situation quickly thereafter with an intelligent low shot that beat Amos to give the Yellow-and-Blue a 3:0 lead in the 82nd minute and the valuable three points.
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s next match will be on Saturday night, 20:00 at Bloomfield Stadium as they will welcome back their former striker Rada Prica and Maccabi Petach Tikva on Matchday 20 of the WINNER League.