Maccabi Tel Aviv 3:2 Bnei Sakhnin
Maccabi Tel Aviv opened the Ligat Winner season on the right foot with a 3:2 win over Bnei Sakhnin at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv. In three days Maccabi will host FC Basel in the return leg of the UEFA Champions League playoff round.
The Yellow-and-Blue couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season as star captain Eran Zahavi had a hand in all three goals, scoring the first and third for Maccabi while his free kick set up Tal Ben Chaim’s rebound goal good for three points.
Head Coach Slavisa Jokanovic made some changes in his starting lineup from this past Wednesday’s match in Basel as Eli Dasa, Carlos Garcia, Gili Vermouth, Dor Peretz, Barak Itzhaki, Dor Micha and Nikola Mitrovic all got the call to open up for the reigning champion. Juan Pablo started in goal, while Eitan Tibi, Omri Ben Harush and Eran Zahavi also got the nod to begin the first match of the season.
However, it was Bnei Sakhnin that took a shock lead in the 11th minute as Brazilian Minto Pauliniho “Jorginho” scored to make it 0:1 for the visitors. But as usual it was the captain Eran Zahavi in the 23rd minute that pulled Maccabi even tying up the game at 1:1 as the sides headed into halftime all knotted up.
The second half saw Maccabi make a number of substitutions replacing Vermouth and Itzhaki for Edan Ben Bassat and Tal Ben Chaim in the 60th minute as the moves would pay off just moments later. Zahavi’s free kick in the 68th minute hit the Sakhnin wall as Ben Chaim pounced on the rebound to give Tel Aviv a 2:1 lead that they would not relinquish.
In the 81st minute Dor Peretz sent a deep ball right to Zahavi who didn’t waste any time to give the Yellow-and-Blue a 3:1 lead. Nikola Mitrovic picked up a red card in the 87th minute after provocation by Sakhnin captain Haled Halayla and ten-man Maccabi would give up a late goal to striker Weam Amsha to cut the lead to 3:2.
All would end well though as Maccabi weathered the flurry in the final minutes by Sakhnin to pick up the three points as they head into the return leg against Basel on Tuesday night.
Kiryat Shemona 1:3 Hapoel Beer Sheva
Beer Sheva made the trip up north with their new coach Barak Bachar who happens to be the old coach of Kiryat Shemona and was honored prior to the match, but was coldly received my owner Izzy Shretasky. Shir Tzedek the former Kiryat Shemona captain now with the southern club was also feted before the game and was warmly received by all.
However that was about as warm a welcome that everyone would get as the visitors pounded Kiryat Shemona on three unanswered goals by Maor Melikson, Ben Sahar and Mahran Radi. Bruno Chnca opened the scoring but it would not be enough on this night.
Beitar Jerusalem 0:0 Hapoel Tel Aviv
Not much to say about this match with very few chances and opportunities from either side, poor play across the pitch and many players that have never experienced a match between these two clubs. Fan atmosphere was terrific but the game itself was something to be desired. Reds coach Cesar Mendiondo and Beitar boss Slobodan Drapic will need a few more weeks to get their sides in shape to compete in the domestic league this season.
Maccabi Haifa 0:3 Bnei Yehuda
Bnei Yehuda shocked Haifa at Sammy Ofer Stadium in front of over 28K fans 0:3 as nothing seeks to go right for Roni Levy and the Greens. Thierry Doubai, Almog Bozaglo, Pedro Galvan all scored for the newly promoted Tel Aviv side giving them three points and a big away victory.
Maccabi Petach Tikva 1:0 Maccabi Netanya
Petach Tikva under Coach Ran Ben Shimon picked up the three points Z their good play over the past few weeks in the Toto Cup competition translated over to league play. Gidi Kanuk scored in the 30th minute as Netanya had no answers to beat up and coming ‘keeper Itamar Nitzan. Imaye Taga picked up a red card in the 86th minute for Netanya that cost the visitors any chance of coming back.
Hapoel Raanana 2:2 Hapoel Kfar Saba
The newly promoted Kfar Saba was on their way to 3 points and an easy win, but then they forgot that a football match is 90+ minutes. Reef Mesika gave Kfar Saba the 2:0 lead and all looked to be sewn up except that Haim Silvas’s squad decided otherwise. Kfar Saba Dino Skvorc was given a red card for tripping up Yosef Abu Laben in the box who coolly converted from 11 meters in the 89th minute to pull Raanana to within one goal 2:1. In the 93rd minute a Raanana corner kick was slotted home by Adi Nimni to give both a sides a split of the points.
Hapoel Akko 0:1 Hapoel Haifa
With over 3,000 people in attendance, Tadas Kijankas helped Hapoel Haifa to three points and an opening day win.