Maccabi Haifa captured the Israel Super Cup with a dominant performance as they upended Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-0 at Sammy Ofer Stadium. After a goalless first half, Barak Bachar’s squad saw Ben Sahar score a quick goal to begin the second half which was followed up by a Muhammed Abu Fani strike in the box to hand the Greens the coveted first trophy of the campaign.
The traditional start of the season title pits the Israeli league champion against the State Cup holder in what is always an exciting end to end affair with both clubs are in the midst of attempting to advance to the Group Stages of the UEFA Conference League.
Maccabi Tel Aviv looked to score an early goal as Avi Rikan had the game’s first chance in the 2nd minute but his shot missed the target. Omer Atzily and Dan Glazer each picked up yellow cards by the quarter hour mark while Ben Sahar almost out the Greens in front in the 25th minute but his attempt in the box went off the bar and was cleared to safety.
Haifa had a pair of goals waved off due to players being offside as Idan Nachmias was issued a yellow card in the 37th minute. Atzily tried his luck on a free kick but his curler just missed the far corner of the goal while his break into the box saw his sharp angle shot squirt by the post and out as the first half ended goalless.
Just as the second half got underway, Ben Sahar broke the deadlock as the forward slammed home a rebound off a magnificent save by yellow-and-blue keeper Daniel Peretz from an Atzily header to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute. Yonatan Cohen tried to find the equalizer but his left footed shot went over the goal in the 60th minute while nine minutes later his free kick also cleared the bar as Haifa continued to cling to the slim 1-0 lead.
However, Haifa doubled their advantage soon thereafter when Abu Fani took a ball in the box and dribbled through three Tel Aviv defenders and turned Luis Hernandez inside out as he slotted the ball behind a helpless Peretz for a 2-0 lead.
Each side traded chances over the final quarter hour but Haifa held on to notch the clean sheet and take the Super Cup for 2021.