Maccabi Tel Aviv crowned 2023/24 Champions

May 18, 2024 | Football

Maccabi Tel Aviv captured the Israel League Championship after defeating Hapoel Beer Sheva 3-0 and will now have the opportunity to compete for a place in the UEFA Champions League. The yellow-and-blue last took home the domestic title back in 2019/20 which was the second year of back-to-back championships. With the title, Maccabi broke a streak of three straight championships by Maccabi Haifa and will look to begin Champions League qualification in July.

Robbie Keane’s squad were handed an early gift when Hapoel Beer Sheva central defender Miguel Vitor was issued a red card just 14 seconds into the game for a tackle on Dan Bitton who had a clear path to the goal to give Maccabi a man advantage for the entire contest. Dor Turgeman opened the scoring as he headed in a Bitton ball in the 26th minute while Ofir Davidzada made it 2-0 off a Milson assist ten minutes later to head into the break with the lead. Milson continued his fine play as he picked up his second helper of the game in the 69th minute when Ido Shachar found the back of the goal to give the hosts a 3-0 lead and the win.

The chairman of the Israel Football Association, Moshe Shino Zuarets acknowledged Maccabi’s title, “Congratulations to Maccabi Tel Aviv for an exciting championship win, a second title in a successful season. Congratulations to owner Mitch Goldhar who deserves compliments for the impressive management of the club, the committed professional staff, the excellent players and above all the huge and supportive crowd. All of these led to the results in the domestic competition, in addition to a particularly successful European campaign. Knowing the owner and the club, I am sure that you will strive to raise the bar next season as well. I only wish the joy of this accomplishment would be at the highest of levels should the circumstances in the nation be much better.”

The Chairman of the Israel Professional Football League Erez Halfon added, “Congratulations to Maccabi Tel Aviv for winning the state championship. Congratulations to owner Mitch Goldhar, coach Robbie Keane and his team, players and fans for a sweet ending to a long season full of achievements in Israel and Europe.

“You went through one of the most difficult and complex seasons that Israeli football has known due to the war and you managed to excel in the moments of truth time after time. You have shown dedication, talent and commitment to the goal on the part of all the club members and you can feel pride in yourselves. Winning the championship is always a high point for any team and this achievement must be even more exciting for the fans and everyone around the club.”

Maccabi Haifa defeated Bnei Sakhnin 2-1 after mounting a late comeback to take the victory. After a scoreless first half, Alexandru Paun gave the hosts a 1-0 lead vis the penalty spot in the 57th minute, but twenty minutes later, Muhammed Abu Nil was issued a red card which allowed the greens to draw even at 1-1 on a Dean David spot kick. As the match headed into second half injury time, Frantzdy Pierrot headed home a Pierre Cornud ball to give Messay Dego’s squad the victory.

“This was an important win for us,” Dego said following the game. “I want to congratulate Maccabi Tel Aviv on winning the championship, it was a good fight. I told the guys before the game that we haver to play as best as we can, title or not title on the line. Every player who puts on a Maccabi Haifa heresy must give 200% effort and we have two more important games still, at Beer Sheva and a Haifa Derby.”

“We didn’t have a good first half and all in all it just wasn’t a good game for us,” Sakhnin coach Slobodan Drapic said. “We have a game at Reineh coming up and we have to take points. We had a good season and made it to the championship playoffs where we want to finish in 5th place.”

Hapoel Tel Aviv slipped by Hapoel Hadera 1-0 on a 35th minute goal by Sagi Genis as the Reds ended their season on a high note before heading down to compete in the Leumit League after having been relegated following last week’s loss.

“It’s a tough feeling to stand here in front of our fans due to the situation of being relegated,” interim head coach Saleem Tuama said. “The fans cheered us on all season long and even now knowing we went down a league. But that’s Hapoel Tel Aviv where the supporters are always with us. Now we have to look ahead and continue on.”

“We were a bit naive in this game and that was the difference in the result,” Hadera coach Haim Silvas said. “I came here to make sure that we would remain in the league and take the club a step further up. We have plans and we have to really hit on the right players going into next season. We have a great base to take that next leap forward.”

Ashdod sunk Hapoel Jerusalem 3-1 to take the win and the points as the port city side heads into the offseason. After a goalless first half, Amit Glazer was issued a red card in the 48th minute which gave the hosts a man to the good for almost the entire second half as Stav Nachmani immediately took advantage of the situation to give Ashdod a 1–0 lead. However, Matan Hozez found the equalizer in the 75th minute, but 3 minutes later Elad Shahaf gave Eli Levy’s team the lead for good while Ilay Tamam added the insurance marker soon thereafter to take the victory.

“This sums up an excellent relegation playoff for us,” Levy began. “We took it game by game and after each one we came closer and closer as a team. As a country we have had a tough time and for us in a city that was hit hard since October 7th we have not had the ideal preparations and things have not been the same. But I have to give credit to everyone here for making sure that this team would not go down a league.”

“We felt that all season long we were a good team,” Hapoel Jerusalem Head Coach Ziv Arie began. “It’s hard for a team like us with our budget to compete in the championship playoff. Our season began very poorly and I am to going to use the war as an excuse. We have a good base for next season.”

Hapoel Haifa defeated Bnei Reineh 1-0 as Guy Melamed’s first half goal stood up for teh Carmel Reds to take the win and the points.

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