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Raanana Stuns Maccabi 2:1

Dov Halickman Photography

Maccabi Tel Aviv fell to Hapoel Raanana at home 2:1 in a hectic final few minutes of play that saw Maccabi draw even on a fabulous Barak Itzhaki goal to go down to defeat just minutes later as Snir Shucker stunned the hosts.

The Yellow-and-Blue came out of the gates at Bloomfield Stadium with a lineup that included Predrag Rajkovic making his first start at the fabled field and a back four of Eli Dasa, Tal Ben Haim, Eitan Tibi and Omri Ben Harush. Gal Alberman played in his usual defensive holding midfield position with Nikola Mitrovic and youngster Dor Peretz playing further up the pitch. A trio of Dor Micha, Gili Vermouth and Eran Zahavi rounded out the starting XI for Head Coach Slavisa Jokanovic.

Prior to kickoff, Maccabi honored their former striker Barak Badash as Captain Eran Zahavi presented him with a framed jersey commemorating his time with the club playing in 45 matches and scoring 11 goals while adding 5 assists.

The first half saw Maccabi controlling the flow of play and tempo of the match as Dor Peretz had the club’s best chance in the 17th minute when his booming shot was just deflected by Raanana’s ‘keeper Arik Yanko into the crossbar and out of play. Gili Vermouth who supplied Peretz with the ball had a number of nice short passes throughout the opening 45 minutes, but it was Evans Kangwa the Raanana striker who put Haim Silvas’s team into the lead.

Maccabi’s Ben Harush had been moving the ball into the visitors territory when suddenly Raanana picked him off and went on a counter attack that saw Kangwa put the ball behind Rajkovic from 17 meters out for the 1:0 advantage. Ben Harush would have an opportunity to even the score in the 38th minute but his strike would be pushed aside by Yanko to preserve the 1:0 scoreline at halftime.

Jokanovic made a couple of subs to begin the second half as Barak Itzhaki and Tal Ben Chaim came on for Dor Micha and Nikola Mitrovic to try and ignite the Maccabi offense. However, Raanana continued to stifle the Yellow-and-Blue attack time-and-time again with a frustrated Ben Haim and Alberman collecting yellow cards in the process.

As time wound down Maccabi’s pressure mounted with chances coming from Ben Chaim, Zahavi and Vermouth but none finding a way past Yanko. That was until Barak Itzhaki’s chip shot eluded the Raanana ‘keeper to draw the hosts even in the 89th minute.

But just when you thought that the game was now Maccabi’s to win, a quick Raanana break led to a shocking goal by Snir Shucker to silence the Yellow-and-Blue faithful sending the home side to a stunning defeat.

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