Who’s in 1st? Maccabi TLV back on track, Jerusalem’s Chanukah gifts to Haifa & More! Wrapping up Israel Football Matchday 8

Maccabi Tel Aviv looked to be back on track against a weak Hapoel Kfar Saba team. Three goals for the Yellow & Blue with a pair of assists and a strike by Yonatan Cohen got the budding star off and running after having a substandard start to the season that was also riddled with COVID-19. It looked as if the champs were back and ready to roll. Donis finally played his cards right in league action and knows what the tools he has in his toolbox to work with for the time being. He’s managed Europe immaculately and no one should doubt for a second that the Greek can’t do the same in the Israeli league. Is he Ivic? No and you know what, that’s a good thing. The team needed a new voice and although Ivic was a terrific manager and took two league titles he didn’t make it to Europe where the money is which is the asset that Maccabi needs now most.

I wouldn’t read too much into Maccabi Haifa’s win over Beitar Jerusalem who handed out lots of Chanukah gifts to the Greens throughout the 90 minutes. In fact, Barak Bachar’s squad should have scored even more goals in a first half that Beitar coach Slobodan Drapic described as his worst as a coach. The capital city squad can’t get anything going with a roster of solid veteran players plus a number of up and coming stars including one Yarden Shua who was playing against his fire team. Beitar owner Moshe Hogeg is heading to seal a deal in the UAE that could see a windfall of money for the club, but money isn’t everything. The team needs some kind of direction on the pitch and a management team that can bring in the right players, not the most expensive.

Beer Sheva has to get back to their winning ways fast as they have now gone winless in their last 8 contests. With European competition wearing them down and a number if injuries giving coach Yossi Abuksis fits the last thing he needs is a soap opera with a player like Josue, but that’s what he has to deal with right now. After making his apologies, Josue is back at training but he’s on a short leash, a very short one with the team. One more false move and that may be his last in Israel. Josue is a mega talent and the truth is that the country should be thrilled to have a player of his ilk and ability here, but at what price? There is a reason why he is in Israel, let’s see what he and Beer Sheva can do.

Bnei Sakhnin came back in style after a 4-0 drubbing last week and downed Ashdod 1-0 at home as Beram Kayal made his mark after returning from England. Kayal was a maestro in the midfield and a cut above everyone else on the pitch which is what Sakhnin will need should they want to stay in the top league and also build for the future. The younger players will benefit from Kayal’s presence especially Osman Khalaila who was recently called up to the Israel National Team. With Kayal, Sakhnin becomes a must watch team once again. Watch out and let’s see what they can do.

As predicted by Netanya coach Raymond Atteveld, Kiryat Shemona was going to be a tough foe for the diamond city squad and they were after a goalless draw. Tempers flared on the sidelines between the coaches as well as on the field of play between the players. Netanya has all of a sudden looked mortal while K8 just continues on their way as one of the best team’s in the league as they sit in second place having given up only 2 goals in 7 games and just a point out of first with a game in hand.

If Kiryat Shemona is in 2nd place, who’s in first? Well, that would be the newly promoted Maccabi Petah Tikva with 16 points in 8 games while scoring 9 goals and giving up only 4. Coach Guy Luzon has done a superb job so far taking maximum points against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Matchday as his young guns including Liel Abada have done a terrific job thus far. Can they keep it up? That remains to be seen but so far so good.

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