Football Israel Ligat Ha’al Championship/relegation Rounds April 18-21 2014

Hapoel Kiryat Shemona 1-1 Hapoel Tel Aviv

After securing a place in the Israel State Cup Finals, Kiryat Shemona had a bit of a hangover Saturday drawing with Hapoel Tel Aviv 1-1 in Kiryat Shemona. Former Maccabi Tel Aviv youngster Roie Kehat scored his first of the season for the home side while Ran Yitzhak scored for the Reds. Branko Illic committed a foolish foul at the 87th minute that earned him a red card and will miss the next match, a derby against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Maccabi Haifa 2-1 Hapoel Beer Sheva

Maccabi Haifa playing their home game on the road in Netanya due to a radius penalty defeated a struggling Hapoel Beer Sheva 2-1 you themselves are coming off a shocking Israel State Cup loss. Shoval Gozlan scored 40 seconds into the match for the Greens while Maor Bozaglo tied it up on a brilliant free kick. But it was Alon Turgeman’s classy touch goal from newcomer Eran Biton who was making his debut start for Maccabi that won the three points for embattled coach Arik Benado.

Hapoel Ramat HaSharon 4-1 Maccabi Petach Tikva

Petach Tikva took a 1-0 lead into the second half on a goal by Roie Dayan, but it was 55th minute substitute Yosef Abu Laben’s hat trick and Emir Hadzic’s 95th minute penalty that has almost assured Petach Tikva’s trip to the Leumit League and puts RHS in position to stay up in Ligat Ha’Al.

Bnei Yehuda 1-3 Hapoel Raanana

Bnei Yehuda took a nosedive in the standings back into the danger relegation zone losing convincingly to Raanana 3-1 at Bloomfield Stadium. Raanana took a lead on a Mamadou Thiam 3rd minute goal but Nes Zamir drew the clubs even before half time. But the second half saw all Raanana with goals by Raz Cohen & Anthony Nwakaeme to wrap up the away victory.

Ashdod 1-0 Hapoel Akko

Ashdod’s Alex Davidov gave the club a slim 1 goal win over Akko in Ashdod as the home side has almost assured itself of staying up in Ligat Ha’Al.

Football Israel Ligat Ha’al Championship/relegation Rounds April 12-13 2014

Beitar Jerusalem 1-0 Ashdod

Beitar Jerusalem picked up the win on Shlomi Azoulay’s first goal with the club since coming over on loan from Maccabi Haifa to defeat Ashdod in a battle of the top two relegation zone squads. Not many chances for both Nir Klinger’s side and Roni Levy’s charges, but for Azoulay it was getting the proverbial monkey off of his back after finally scoring in a Beitar shirt, something that was long time coming.

Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 Maccabi Haifa

Maccabi Tel Aviv moved ever closer to their second straight championship with a slim 1-0 win in injury time to send The Greens to their 4th loss in a row. Eran Zahavi came up slightly hurt during the match and was subbed out so Gal Alberman did the scoring this time with only minutes to play to solidify the yellow and blue’s position atop the table.

Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-0 Bnei Sakhnin

Hapoel Tel Aviv dented Bnei Sakhnin’s hopes of a European spot winning at home 3-0 in convincing fashion. Israel Zaguri scored a brace and Omer Damari knocked home a penalty in the win. Bnei Sakhnin did not look good throughout the match and were clearly outclassed by a desparate Reds squad trying to solidify a Europa League position for the 2014-15 campaign.

Hapoel Beer Sheva 0-2 Kiryat Shemona

Ahead of their State Cup clash on Wednesday night, Kiryat Shemona determined to send a message to their counterparts at Beer Sheva’s home stadium Wassermill coming away with a dominant 2-0 victory. David Manga scored the two Kiryat Shemona goals and Elyaniv Barda came up limping in the 2nd half after coming in as a substitution. The severity of Barda’s injury is not yet known and the club is unsure if he will be able to play on Wednesday night when these two same teams face off again.

Hapoel Akko 0-1 Bnei Yehuda

Bnei Yehuda and Hapoel Akko split the points on a goal by James Keene off a terrific Oz Rali effort for the visitors to take a 1-0 lead. But Ismael Rian scored in the 51st minute to bring Akko even. However Bnei Yehuda Keepr DXXX came up big to salvage a point when he saved an 85th minute Spadaccia penalty.

Hapoel Haifa 0-1 Hapoel Ramat HaSharon

Keeny Seif is a star! Yet another goal for the youngster as Ramat HaSharon earn the win as they try to stay above the red line. On the other hand, Haifa continues to sink and the supporters are calling for the firing of coach Shlomi Dura as the season and time is running out.

Hapoel Raanana 4-2 Maccabi Petach Tikva

An absolute crazy game at the Netanya stadium where the same crowd of only 400 supporters saw 6 goals! Raanana came up with the first goal from Asi Baldot. Petach Tikva evened it up on a Pedro Galvan strike at the 55th minute and the clubs traded goals again when Mamadou Thiam & Roie Dayan made it 2-2 with only minutes remaining. But that’s when Raanana struck gold twice! Sneer Shocker and Raz Cohen scored before the final whistle to give Raanana a valuable three points. The man of the match was Nwakema with four assists!

Football Israel Championship/relegation Rounds April 5-7 2014

Kiryat Shemona 2-2 Maccabi Tel Aviv

Kiryat Shemona always plays Maccabi Tel Aviv tough and they did so again in the Northern City drawing with the reigning champions 2-2. Eran Zahavi scired a brace, the first goal a wonderful free kick and the second a fabulous strike, but David Manga & Weam Amasha helped split the points. Each time Maccabi scored, K* answered back in 4 minutes to come even with the yellow and blue. Kiryat Shemona will play in the Israel State Cup Semi Finals next week and will look to take home a piece of silverware from the 2013-14 season.

Bnei Yehuda 1-0 Beitar Jerusalem

Bnei Yehuda continues to climb out of the depths of the Ligat Ha’Al as they take 3 important points from Beitar Jerusalem at Bloomfield Stadium in front of a raucous home crowd. Ohad Kadosi scored the lone goal and winner for the Bnei Yehuda as they leapfrog both Maccabi Petach Tikva and Ramat HaSharon with 26 points to their 24 pts respectively. The loss by Beitar just continued their disappointing season where goals have been hard to come by and while their defense may be solid one mistake will cost them and their coach Roni Levy.

Hapoel Beer Sheva 1-1 Hapoel Tel Aviv

Reds against Reds. And what did we get a? A 1-1 draw that almost gives Maccabi Tel Aviv the Championship as Hapoel Beer Sheva could not keep up with Hapoel Tel Aviv as the sides came away with a draw and disappointment as the year begins to come to an end. Omer Damari opened the scoring for Hapoel Tel Aviv in the 4th minute and Tomer Suissa brought the teams even a little more than a quarter hour later.

Maccabi Haifa 1-2 Bnei Sakhnin

The Kiryat Eliezer Green Apes faithful were in shock as Bnei Sakhnin delivered a severe blow to Maccabi Haifa’s hopes of playing in Europe next season losing 2-1. Haifa did not look good all game but took a 1-0 lead as Alon Turgeman gave his club a slim lead. But the second half did not bode well as Bnei Sakhnin received a free kick strike by Ali Osman to tie up the match and then substitute Marc Fernandez scored the winner in minute 85 to move Bnei Sakhnin to within a point of Maccabi Haifa.

Ashdod 4-1 Hapoel Haifa

Nir Klinger and his Ashdod side played a solid game defeating a much maligned Hapoel Haifa side 4-1. After the first 40 minutes where the two clubs felt each other out, Alex Davidov gave the home team a 1-0 lead off a Yero Bello pass in the 42nd minute. Haifa was hoping to get to the dressing rooms at the half down only 1-0 but it was not to be as Timor Avitan ran circles around the Haifa defense to make it 2-0. Alex Davidov continued his strong play as he orchestrated the final two Ashdod goals, the first being scored by Israel Rosh and the second by Yero Bello. Mahran Lala took one back for the visitors with two minutes remaining but it was a too little too late.

Maccabi Petach Tikva 0-0 Hapoel Akko

In a battle of bottom clubs no one came out on top as the sides split the points in a match that had very few chances. The Petach Tikva keeper Tzachi Gigi made some fine saves in the final 45 minutes to help the home team to a point.

Hapoel Ramat HaSharon 0-0 Hapoel Raanana

Another 0-0 special in the relegation playoffs did not help either side in remaining in Ligat Ha’Al next season. In a match with again very few chances, fans were left trying to will their respective sides to a victory but had to collects a point a piece and leave content.

Cheeky Backheel Podcast April 1 2014

Right click here to download The Cheeky Backheel Podcast from April 1, 2014

Roy Jankelowitz, reporter on Israel Sport and the man behind the fantastic Facebook Page HaShishit B’Europa joined me on the Cheeky Backheel Podcast discussing Maccabi Tel Aviv, their technical director Jordi Cryuff who brought on scoring machine and the “Israeli Zlatan” Barack Badash and their stranglehold on the Football Israel League. We also investigated why there are not more foreign Jewish owners in Football Israel and what can be done to promote the league and how Zionism can make a big difference for the future of soccer in Israel.

Football Israel Championship/relegation Rounds March 29-31 2014

Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-0 Hapoel Beer Sheva

Maccabi Tel Aviv showed who was boss in this crucial “game of the year” encounter as the home side thoroughly dominated the visiting Beer Sheva club 2-0. January transfer window acquisition Barack Badash has more than found his home in the Maccabi lineup scoring both goals and almost sealing Maccabi’s back-to-back championships. Coming over from Kiryat Shemona, Badash has been a central figure for Maccabi with Barack Yizthaki going to down to injury, Monas Dabour heading to Switzerland and Rada Prica been banged up. For the second straight year Maccabi’s technical director, Jordi Cryuff struck gold bringing in the striker frequently likened (at least in looks) to the iconic Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Last year he swooped in and grabbed Israeli sensation Eran Zahavi from Palermo in Italy which sealed the Blue & Yellows first Israel Ligat Ha’Al championship in 10 years. It looks like a 2nd championship in as many years may be the beginning of something very special for not only Maccavi but for Israel Football and it’s European and World standing.

Beitar Jerusalem 3-0 Maccabi Petach Tikva

Beitar & Petach Tikva came out and played a sluggish first half, but the Jerusalem side decided that teh 3 points to be earned were too valuable and turned on the offense scoring 3 goals in the second half to defeat the Luzonites. Yitzik Cohen opened the scoring at the 49th minute while Aviram Bruchian slotted home a penalty and youngster Omer Atzili scored his first goal of the year on a beauty of a strike to send the small crowd home happy. The win puts Beitar Jerusalem in good position to remain up and avoid relegation with 6 more matches to come.

Hapoel Tel Aviv 4-0 Maccabi Haifa

Hapoel Tel Aviv finally defeated Maccabi Haifa this season, pounding the Greens 4-0 while perhaps performing the best they have all season. Shai Abutbol opened the scoring 19 minutes in as Gili Vermut played the captain a nice ball to take the 1-0 lead. Shortly thereafter Israel Zaguri made it 2-0 in the 26th minute off a rebounded shot by Lukas Sasha and the rout was on. Next it was Omer Damari feeding Lukas Sasha who scored in the 49th minute this time on new keeper Bojan Sharanov who replaced injured Amir Edri at the half and Amar Fadida rounded out the win with his 1st goal at minute 85. Omer Damari picked up 2 assists and missed a penalty in the 65th minute, but regardless the Reds seemed to have finally put together a top notch effort to cement a European position for next year.

Hapoel Haifa 0-1 Bnei Yehuda

Could have the signing of Ohad Kadosi during the January transfer window save the season for Bnei Yehuda? It certainly could as Kadosi scored his 4th goal since coming back to Israel and helped move Bnei Yehuda put of relegation for the first time in a long time this year. Yossi Abuksis’s men took the lead in the 5th minute as Kadosi put in his 2nd chance of the game, the first coming in the 2nd minute but saved brilliantly by the Haifa keeper Kale. It seemed that Kadosi was all over the pitch with a number of great chances, but his one goal would stand up against Haifa and it’s coach Shlomi Dura.

Bnei Sakhnin 1-4 Hapoel Kiryat Shemona

Kiryat Shemona looks to have a strangle hold on the 3rd position in the league table after a convincing 4-1 win at Doha Stadium in Sakhnin. Mindaugus Panka opened the scoring for the visitors in the 4th minute but the hosts drew even at one in the 6th minute with a goal by Ala’a Abu-Saleh off a Hamad Ghanayim free kick. But after that it was all Kiryat Shemona with goals by Vladimir Brown (his 1st of the season) in the 16th minute, Yoel Kajanivich with his 1st of the year in the 33rd minute and David Manga with a 92nd minute goal and the cherry on top.

Ashdod 0-1 Ramat HaSharon

Kenny Seif is a budding superstar as he yet scored another important goal, his 8th of the season to help Ramat HaSharon stay alive at the bottom of the table.

Hapoel Akko 1-1 Hapoel Raaana

The two sides split the points in Akko as the hosts scored on a Juliano Spadacia 41st minute penalty and Raz Cohen evens the scored at one with a goal for Raanana in the 86th minute.

Cheeky Backheel Podcast March 25 2014

Right click here to download The Cheeky Backheel Podcast from March 25, 2014

Roy Jankelowitz, reporter on Israel Sport and the man behind the fantastic Facebook Page HaShishit B’Europa joined me on the Cheeky Backheel Podcast as we talk Playoffs in Ligat Ha’Al, State Cup, Maccabi Tel Aviv facing Hapoel Beer Sheva next week & more!

Football Israel Upper Playoffs Round 1

Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-0 Hapoel Tel Aviv

A draw. Period. After last week’s crazy derby we got what was to be expected when two teams play each other two weeks in a row. Both sides did not have many chances and the sparks that flew last week were nowhere to be found. With the draw Maccabi Tel Aviv are only 5 points ahead of Beer Sheva whom they play against next week.

Hapoel Beer Sheva 2-0 Bnei Sakhnin

Beer Sheva defeated a disinterested looking Bnei Sakhnin team 2-0 at Wassermill Stadium Saturday night. The home side received two goals off of free kicks by Maor Bozaglo, the first in the 3rd minute by Serbian Tomoslav Pajovic and a 59th minute strike by Willian Suarez to secure the win. Bnei Sakhnin did not look to have much in the tank and will have to regroup before next week’s match against Kiryat Shemona.

Hapoel Kiryat Shemona 1-0 Maccabi Haifa

Weam Amasha excited revenge on his former squad by scoring a 67th minute penalty to give Kiryat Shemona a slim 1-0 win over Maccabi Haifa. The penalty call was definitely questionable as Taleb Tawatha committed a foul that was not clearly in the box. The back line referee did not opine as the main referee Orel Greenfield blew the whistle and pointed to the spot. Amasha, playing his first game against the team that did not dress him once during the first half of the season was able to score to not only give his team the valuable 3points but also show the Greens why they should have played him. Haifa goalkeeper Amir Edri was substituted a few minutes after the goal as he dove and made a hard challenge way outside of the box as the referee did not call a clear handball in the Kiryat Shemona box.

Cheeky Backheel Football Israel Podcast March 18 2014

Right click here to download The Cheeky Backheel Podcast from March 18, 2014

Roy Jankelowitz, reporter on Israel Sport and the man behind the fantastic Facebook Page HaShishit B’Europa joined me on the Cheeky Backheel Podcast as we break down the crazy derby between Maccabi & Hapoel Tel Aviv which MTA managed to win in the dying stages of the game! Eran Zahavi with a hat trick & Omer Damari with a brace!

Crazy Maccabi Tel Aviv Defeats Hapoel Tel Aviv on 2 Last Minute Goals

Hapoel Tel Aviv 2-3 Maccabi Tel Aviv

CRAZY! That’s the only word to describe the derby match up between Maccabi & Hapoel Tel Aviv last night at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv! Cliches just won’t cut it to describe what we saw on the pitch. We had a red card, a hat trick, a brace, two penalties, questionable calls by the referee and coaching moves that will be scrutinized for possibly years to come.

Boris Kleiman starting for Dani Amos in the Hapoel goal gave up a brutal dribbler to Eran Zahavi in the 33rd minute that went right through his hands. And then the fun began. Rada Prica, Maccabi’s Swedish striker picked up a foolish red card by pushing down a Hapoel player to give the Reds a man advantage.

Prica had not done much in the match as Maccabi’s offense ran down the flanks and not the middle with the wing players getting the majority of play. But losing the striker was a big hit to Paulo Sousa’s game plan as he would have to alter the way he has thought the match would play out.

Paulo Sousa - Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv Website

Paulo Sousa – Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv Website

With the extra man to the good, Omer Damari did what he has done all year which is score to tie up the match at one a piece going into halftime. Hapoel came out of the lockerroom in good form and controlled most of the 2nd half not allowing Maccabi ball control as the yellow and blue only held the ball for 40% of the game.

Barack Badash, the Israeli Zlatan, entered the game at minute 53 to try and jump start Maccabi’s offense but he would only really surface during the last play of the match. Hapoel continued to pressure Maccabi and attempted in vain to break through the yellow and blue defense.

But that would all change when Gili Vermut was pulled down or made sure to go down in the Maccbi box in the 87th minute which led to an Omer Damari penalty kick and brace that seemed to secure the first Hapoel Derby win in five matches.

Pow! Pow! Eran Zahavi celebrating one of his goals! Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv Website

Pow! Pow! Eran Zahavi celebrating one of his goals! Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv Website

But it was not to be. Maccabi coach Paulo Sousa quickly inserted Tal Ben Haim who immediately paid dividends for his boss, speeding down the left side, entering the box and getting pulled down for an 88th minute penalty and tying goal by Noen other than Eran Zahavi!

It seemed both clubs would end the game in a 2-2 draw, split the points and send the supporters from both sides home happy. But no.

A quick Hapoel turnover sent Barack Badash into the middle of the field where he slid the ball to a racing Zahavi who placed the sphere into the onion bag and sent the Maccabi supporters into absolute delirium, and the Hapoel fans into utter shock, jaws dropped not knowing what had just hit them.

Eran Zahavi Scores a Hat Trick! Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv Website

Eran Zahavi Scores a Hat Trick! Courtesy Maccabi Tel Aviv Website

Zahavi hat trick takes out Omer Damari and his brace. Maccabi showed the heart of a champion and moved seven points clear of Hapoel Beer Sheva and pretty much wrapped up the league title as we head into the upper playoffs which begin next week.

Take a guess who Maccabi will be playing.

Yes, Hapoel.