Maccabi Tel Aviv defeated Beitar Jerusalem 3-1 as the Yellow & Blue continued to close the gap atop the table to just 6 points as the season heads into the final matchday of the regular season next weekend. Đorđe Jovanović was once again the star of the show with an incredible goal as well as an assist as the Serbian striker now has 5 goals in 5 games since joining Mladen Krstajic’s team.
After a goalless first half, Dan Bitton sent a gorgeous corner kick into the box that Stipe Perica headed behind Beitar keeper Itamar Nitzan with authority for a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute. Five minutes later, Jovanovic sent a brilliant strike into the visitor’s goal to give the hosts a commanding two goal lead but Richmond Boakye’s marker soon thereafter cut the advantage to 2-1. However, Jovanovic’s injury time chance was tapped home by Matan Hozez to wrap up the 3-1 victory.
“Every game for us is important,” Krstajic began following the win. “We won a very crucial game and I want to congratulate my players who gave their maximum with a lot of positive energy. We deserved to win and we controlled the pace of the game. The fans were superb.”
“It was a very good goal,” man of the match Jovanovic said. “I haven’t scored too many goals like that but it happens – I had a look at the goal and hit the point I wanted. It was a special goal. This is a team sport, not tennis, nothing can happen without my teammates. I am not feeling special, I am an integral part of the team. I am only here to play for Maccabi, to win 3 points and make the fans happy.”
Yossi Abuksis looked back at the loss, “Beitar is a big club and we will continue to fight. We played a tough game and we were able to cause them trouble in the first half but then we gave up a goal off a corner with is crazy because in the five games that I have been the coach we have given up 4 goals off of corners.”