Maccabi Tel Aviv dominated Maccabi Haifa 3-0 to take the knockout win and 3-points as Eran Zahavi scored a second half brace to lead the hosts to the emotional victory. With the win, Aitor Karaoke’s squad cut the Green’s lead atop the table to 5 points as Maccabi continued to close in on first place.
In what was most probably starlet Oscar Glouch’s last game for the yellow-and-blue, the attacking midfielder didn’t disappoint as he delivered an assist on Parfait Guiagon’s goal at the end of the first half to the delight of not only the home fans but also Red Bull Salzburg Sports Director Christoph Freund who was in attendance.
Eran Zahavi then doubled the advantage when he blasted a Djorde Jovanovic ball into the top right hand corner of the goal in the 63rd minute for a 2-0 lead. As things began to heat up on the pitch, Muhammed Abu Fani was issued a red card after a reckless foul on Dan Glazer and that was immediately followed up by the referee handing a red card as well to Greens head coach Barak Bachar.
Glouch was then substituted off to a standing ovation as the youngster is slated to move to Salzburg over the up coming days. However, Maccabi wasn’t finished off yet as Zahavi blasted in yet another goal, this time into the top left hand corner of the goal to polish off the 3-0 knockout win for the yellow-and-blue.
“I am really pleased for the players and the crowd,” Aitor Karanka said. “This win is for both of them. The way we played and the atmosphere on the bench has been amazing and to see our crowd is amazing. We had a very good game but if we don’t win on Saturday then this win means nothing.”
“There are games like this and Maccabi was fighting for their lives,” a disappointed Barak Bachar began. “We prepared for this and we spoke about the it, but we did not play well at all. This is the game of soccer and we really are dominated. Maybe this type of loss will do something for us and the fact that the gap has been cut that will be a positive for us.”
The man of the match Eran Zahavi reflected on the win, “I would give the team a rating of 10 and me maybe I’d give a 7-8 for this game. This was our best game of the season and for me every game I try and give back to the team and do my best. But as a team we did whatever the coach asked us. This is Maccabi Tel Aviv and this is how we need to look.”