Maccabi Tel Aviv finally put a 14 game winless streak against Maccabi Haifa at their Kiryat Eliezer Stadium to rest after beating the hosts 3-0 in front of a sold out crowd of 14,000 rabid supporters! In a dream game 2,000 Tel Aviv fans celebrated like never before after a thorough drubbing by their heroes led by Rada Prica & Barak Yitzhaki.
The whole game top to bottom for Maccabi Tel Aviv. From Paulo Sousa’s game plan of having his midfielders, Mahran Radi, Gal Alberman & Nikola Mitrovic pound away at the Haifa midfield and Monas Dabour making nice runs only set up the insertion of striker Rada Prica and his quick two goals sealed the Haifa fate. Barak Yitzhaki made good on his promise to make up for the penalty miss against Nicosia last week by scoring the first marker and Eran Zehavi was masterful with his passes and technique. The other bright light for me was the play of defender Omri Ben Harush who made goal number 2 happen for Tel Aviv. As Dino Ndlovu had a tricky shot on Juan Pablo Colonas the MTA ‘keeper, it was Ben Harush who sprinted from midfield and was able to keep the ball in play and save a certain Haifa corner kick. It was his outlet pass to Eran Zehavi that set up an amazing counter attack and a beauty of a chip by Prica over the Haifa goalkeeper Boyan Sharanov. And who can forget the Tel Aviv faithful, all of them soaking up the atmosphere and being feted by the players after the game! True Love!
Maccabi Haifa’s lack of creativity in breaking down the Tel Aviv midfield and chances generated by the strikers Shimon Abuhetzira & Dino Ndlovu were unfortunately not many on this night. The lack of pace from Ruben Rayos was also surprising as he was exposed by the opponent. Hen Ezra was unable to produce as captain Yaniv Katan had the same problem. All in all Haifa manager Arik Benado could not match up to the tactics that Paulo Sousa threw at him and seeing the Tel Aviv coach jump into the arms of his assistants after the first goal was magical.
The Green & White, what else. An ugly loss, ugly 2nd half, ugly tactics and looking at their heads hanging after the third goal as Haifa supporters sprinted for the exits is never a good sign and one that is quite disheartening. From the press box you could hear the angry Haifa-ites screaming at the direction of owner Yakov Schachar for not signing a striker and more yelling directed to Eyal Golasa who should be back at practice this week, finally. The sight of Weam Amasha in the stands is not a pleasant one as he could provide the club with some much needed scoring and a boost but only time will tell if he will ever be allowed back out of the dog house, but for Haifa’s sake I sure hope he gets a get out of jail free card very, very quickly.
The Bottom Line:
Maccabi Tel Aviv showed that they are the team to beat this season as they continued their Israeli league dominance with a victory in what was seen as their closest rival. Of course that may change if Hapoel Tel Aviv begins to heat up and they showed some signs of life this past Sunday night. A good win for Maccabi with Kiryat Shemona coming to visit Bloomfield Saturday night, then a trip to Bordeaux and finally an away matchup just south in Ashdod. 3 games in 10 days or so is never fun, but maybe, just maybe they’ll be able to continue to ride the wave.