Maccabi Haifa 0-1 Maccabi Tel Aviv
Maccabi Tel Aviv picked up the W but are far from the well oiled machine they had been just a few weeks ago. Struggling to find scoring, Tel Aviv only collected the 3 points on an Eran Zahavi penalty after being up a man for the majority of the match. The visitors had all kinds of problems finding the flow of the match even after defender Dekel Keinan was shown a red card by referee Daniel Bar Natan and looked to be totally out of sync. These problems will have to be addressed by coach Pako Ayestaran if a Maccabi wants to win its 3rd league championship on a row.
Sure they are only 1 point out of the top place as leaders Kiryat Shemona lost for the first time this season, but without proper scoring from striker Eden Ben Basat or fluid play by wingers Dor Micha & Tal Ben Chaim these issues will continue to loom. The question that needs to be asked is it that Maccabi needs to make some personnel adjustments and that falls into technical director Jordi Cryuff’s domain or is it Ayestaran that needs to adjust his lineup and find a formula that will work.
On the other side of the pitch, Maccabi Haifa is in all kinds of trouble, even with new coach Marko Balbul. Balbul who recently replaced Serbian head man Aleksander Stanojevic definitely has his work cut out for him and needs to find a solution at the back, in the middle and up front. There need to be better ball control and more confidence shown by his players and the ones he has now are definitely not able to do so.
Whether its Keinan and his slow play leading to the Red card or Idan Chocolic who has had problems all season long, or even the ageing symbol of Gustavo Boculli who can’t maintain possession as he used too, Haifa needs a major overhaul and fast.
The Greens had been a team that was built from the bottom up. Cultivating and nurturing its own players in the youth program so successfully in the northern city. However, things seem to have changed over the last few years where they used to be able to sell players and have line that as part of their operating budget one must look back to perhaps, Lior Refaelov who was sold a number of years ago.
This is not the Maccabi Haifa that one can remember under Yakov Shachar for all these many years. But maybe the actual problem is Schachar not being able to keep up with the times. The Israeli footballing world knows and respects the veteran team owner as he has been such a stalwart in the Israel football world. However, looking at Maccabi Tel Aviv’s success with a Cryuff this may be in fact what Haifa needs.
Someone to get the house in order and get the storied franchise back where it belongs. The only issue is can Schachar the automobile magnet give up the keys to the car and entrust someone to play the roll which he has played for these many years. It’s a matter of delegating and sure he gave Stanojevic plenty of opportunities to get the ship afloat but that was just the senior squad. The whole system needs a massive overhaul. With rumors that former star Yaniv Katan taking up that role that would be a step in the right direction.
Without this move Haifa may be a ship sailing through the night without a compass and a rudder.
One doesn’t have to look much further than their Israel State Sup win last night over Ramat HaSharon where they needed the full 120 minutes to finally out away a team a division below. Where the Greens started their number 1 lineup Maccabi Tel Aviv went into their match with Beitar Tel Aviv Ramle with their 3rd(!) stringers, players who haven’t played much this year as well as those coming off injuries. If it was any indication Tel Aviv may have already found their answer up front where they received a brace off the feet and aerial show of Barak Yitzhaki who is coming off an almost year long layoff. His two goals were spectacular and perhaps Cryuff has already located the missing ingredient.
But the case of Haifa their are many, many ingredients that are missing.