7-A-Side: Wrapping up the weekend in Israeli Football – Almog’s star, Altman impact, Buzaglo’s early exit & what’s next for Tal Ben Chaim?

1) Eylon Almog was finally able to show Maccabi Tel Aviv and the Israeli football world what he can do, and he can do. Almog was a one man wrecking crew in the second half of the Yellow & Blue’s win over Hapoel in the Tel Aviv Derby. Of course, this isn’t the first time that Almog has made his mark for Maccabi. He did so time after time in the youth leagues as he worked his way up to the senior team. The striker came in at the half and turned the Reds on their heads with a brilliant assist with his back to the goal and the added a cherry on top of the win with a goal of his own. Almog has a very, very bright future with his attitude, work ethic and intelligence, he’s a star in the making. I was lucky to to get to know him when I worked at Maccabi and he was always respectful, kind, pleasant and fun to be around. If there is a player I want to see succeed with the Yellow & Blue it’s Eylon Almog.

2) Another terrific young player to keep an eye on is Tomer Altman who is manning the midfield for Hapoel Haifa. Altman is yet another player that went through the Maccabi youth system and turned heads a number of times and once again was a prototypical “Mentch” that I was fortunate to get to know. Against Beitar Jerusalem, Altman was once again playing a big part of the team’s offense and defense, racing around the pitch to see what he could do to constantly push his team. He also did the same versus Hapoel Tel Aviv the week before as he continued to show his wares all over the field of play. He’s also a leader, another attribute that he has honed over time. Next time you get a chance to see the Carmel Reds play, pay attention to #18, believe me, you won’t be sorry.

3) Let’s talk about Hapoel Tel Aviv. Can you explain to me why coach Nir Klinger didn’t play Maor Buzaglo? If you’re playing Maccabi Tel Aviv, in the Derby, why wouldn’t you have one of your best and most experienced players on the pitch? I just don’t get it. But add to that the fact that once Bozaglo saw he wasn’t going to be used just left the bench and went back to the dressing room in the 88th minute. Forget about the rest of the game, he just picked up and left. Goodbye, so long and farewell. I’m not even sure where to start. But you’ve got to dissect this into two parts. The fact that Klinger didn’t play him and the fact that he just walked out on his team with two minutes left until injury time. There’s no question that both Klinger and Buzaglo are lightening rods, but the two have got to get on the same page and finish the season properly. Not only do the Reds still have a chance to make some noise and impact the balance of the season but there are also tons of young players on Hapoel that need to be nurtured and it seems that Bozaglo isn’t exactly the best role model. They see him on the Buzaglos reality show so they certainly know what he’s all about, but to leave your team because you’re not going to play is just inexcusable. And that is the bigger sin of the two.

4) Tal Ben Chaim, who had been with Sparta Prague ended his 3 year relationship with the Czech Republic squad and will most likely make his way back to Israel and perhaps Maccabi Tel Aviv. Ben Chaim was the biggest buy for Sparta but his time with the club ended in utter disappointment. In 24 contests Ben Chaim didn’t score a goal, recorded a total of 3 assists and was injured for a good part of the time he was there. Add to that the fact that the coaching staff pretty much discounted him once he returned didn’t make anything any easier for the winger who had scored 44 goals in 168 appearances with Maccabi Tel Aviv between 2013-2017. I don’t think anyone will argue that Ben Chaim doesn’t have the proper work ethic, that is there but now he just needs to get back to square one and find a home that will let him play and prosper once again. Could that be Maccabi Tel Aviv? It certainly may be his next home.

5) Hapoel Raanana have been competitive throughout the relegation playoffs but they have had one main problem, they gave up game winners with almost no time left. Eyal Lachman came in to try and salvage a bad season and although they have played tough football, Raanana lost to Nes Ziona in the 95th minute, fell to Kiryat Shmona in the 93rd minute, blew a 2-0 lead to Ashdod who found the winner in 92nd minute and on and on and on. It doesn’t get worse than that. After close to decade in the top league, Raanana will have to go down to the Leumit with the goal of building around youngsters and look to be promoted by the end of the 2021 campaign.

6) Hapoel Beer Sheva continues to just keep their head above water and haven’t played well for some time now. The same could be said about Maccabi Haifa but at least they were able to find the back of the goal a scintillating Sintayahu Sallalich scorcher. With so much disarray at both clubs in the head coach department, they may only get back on track one next season begins again anew.

7) Beitar Jerusalem’s problems continued when they blew a 1-0 lead to Hapoel Haifa. The Yellow & Black haven’t been able to win a game yet in the Championship Playoffs and have had a major power outage when it comes to scoring goals. Roni Levy’s team just can’t find the back of the goal no matter how hard they try.

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