Maccabi Tel Aviv hosted Kiryat Shemona at Bloomfield Stadium and came away with an impressive 5:0 victory thanks to Eran Zahavi’s 4-goal performance
Head Coach Slavisa Joaknovic, managing his final game with Maccabi Tel Aviv looked to get his club back on the winning track and started Dejan Radonjic up front with Captain Eran Zahavi by his right and Dor Micha a bit behind on the left. Nosa Igiebor, Nikola Mitrovic and Gal Alberman were the midfielders with a back four of Eli Dasa, Eitan Tibi, Carlos Garcia and Omri Ben Harush in front of keeper Predrag Rajkovic.
The first fifteen minutes of the match saw the two sides checking each other out with most of the action happening in the midfield. That was until Zahavi stripped the ball from Kiryat Shemona defender Din Maimoni in the 15th minute on the right side. The captain went in alone on keeper Mahdi Zuabi beating him from in close to take a 1:0 lead.
Five minutes later Dasa sent a terrific ball to Radonjic in the box but Zuabi was just able to keep the score as is. Radonjic, the Croatian striker was making his first start for the Yellow-and-Blue and provided a much needed spark of energy around the opposition’s goal allowing more freedom for Zahavi and company to operate from the flanks.
Maccabi would double the score in the 33rd minute when Zahavi headed in a beautiful pass by Micha giving the hosts a 2:0 lead. Both teams would trade chances late in the half and Mitrovic picked up a yellow card as the clubs headed into the break.
The second half began where the first left off with a ton of action. Micha sent Radonjic off the left side but his effort was saved by Zuabi’s foot in the 50th minute. Just a minute later Ahmed Abed had his point blank effort saved by Rajkovic as the match kept gong coast-to-coast. However, Kiryat Shemona began showing some quality off of the left side especially when Bruno Kunie stole the ball from Garcia but his effort went wide of the goal.
In order to correct the situation Jokanovic made a substitution in the 60th minute brining in Dor Peretz for Mitrovic and another change in the 65th minute taking off Radonjic to a round of applause for Barak Itzhaki. With fresh players on the pitch Maccabi began controlling the flow of play once again and in the 68th minute they would make Kiryat Shemona pay once again.
Captain Eran Zahavi completed his first hat-trick since May 17, 2014 when he turned the trick against Bnei Sakhnin in his final match of the season. This time he received a brilliant pass from Micha and cleanly beat Zuabi for his third of the game. And if that wasn’t enough for the Yellow-and-Blue Micha came flying in off of the right side and sent another fantastic pass to Zahavi in the box where he missed a bicycle kick, however Ben Harush was there to collect the ball and score from 16 meters out in the 71st minute.
But not to be outdone, Zahavi scored his fourth of the match in the 87th minute from the left side to finish off a dominant performance by the captain and superstar. The club will now get ready for this coming Saturday’s clash away at Hapoel Raanana.