We got action. We got goals. We got end to end chances. We got drama. We got absolutely zero defense. We got an entertaining game. We got to see two clubs that look like they won’t make the upper playoffs.
Yes folks, that’s what we got. A fun game worth every shekel that was spent on a ticket for this classic matchup. Both sides have suffered all year from inconsistent play, poor coaching and off field crisis. But we did get to see some positive movement by both teams as we enter the final weeks of the second round of matches in Ligat Ha’Al.
One might wonder what would have been if Hapoel Tel Aviv would have had an old school professional coach like “The Sheriff” Eli Cohen manning the Reds sidelines from the preseason. What would have been if Cohen would not have had to be parachuted in last month to save the sinking ship? Listening to The Sheriff speak after the match he told the media that he is starting to see some positive movement within the team. Settling down on defense, playing responsible football and buying into a system is what Hapoel is starting to do.
If Tel Aviv had any designs of making it into the top 6 teams by round 26 they will be sorely disappointed as that chance was flushed down the drain after drawing with Maccabi Haifa. But one can’t say it wasn’t for lack of effort.
Cohen is using the best assets that he has now in order to try to get the best results as possible and sure he’s as upset as anyone that the club won’t make it to the “money time” matches against Maccabi Tel Aviv, Kiryat Shemona & Beer Sheva.
But what he did see was a team beginning to find itself, playing selfless and unselfish football going after every loose ball and tackling their opponents hard, making them think twice the next time they may touch the ball. That’s the type of football that Cohen expects from his players.
Sure we all saw the crucial mistake made by Avraham Chekul in the first half when he back passed the ball to keeper Apoula Edel. Except the ball didn’t quite get there before Eliran Atar scooped it up and scored the easiest of goals for his first of two on the night.
And we saw Shlomi Azoulay try, try and try again until he finally scored the tying goal 10 minutes later assisted by the same Avraham Chekul who had made the error that cost them their first goal. The Reds also pressured Haifa after Atar scored his 2nd goal of the night and third in two weeks at Bloomfield Stadium as Ben Reichert scored a goal of the year candidate to draw his side even yet again.
Yes the same Reichert who was mercilessly booed by the Hapoel faithful after coming over on loan from Maccabi Tel Aviv scored the important goal of night, and the entertainment wasn’t over yet!
The final 10 minutes was played at a frantic pace as both clubs knew that their future could depend on the two points that were still available but unfortunately neither would claim them as the match finished deadlocked the way it began. With both teams dreaming of the upper playoffs but most probably settling for the lower playoffs and finishing the season strong setting themselves up for the 2015-16 year.