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Maccabi Tel Aviv, Maccabi Haifa host continental contests

CM 13/09/2021

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A pair of Israeli teams open up their European campaigns on Tuesday as Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa both host UEFA Conference League clashes ahead of the Yom Kippur holiday which begins at sundown on Wednesday evening.
The yellow-and-blue will welcome Alashkert FC from Armenia, which will be making its first foray into the group stages of a continental tournament at Bloomfield Stadium, while the Greens will host Dutch side Feyenoord at Sammy Ofer Stadium by the Carmel.
In Israeli league action, Maccabi Haifa slipped by Bnei Sakhnin 2-1 thanks to an Omer Atzili brace in an entertaining matchup at Sammy Ofer Stadium.

After a goalless first half, Atzili broke the deadlock with a 69th-minute penalty kick but Raz Stain found the equalizer as regulation time wound down.
However, Atzili picked up his second goal of the game with an injury-time stunner from the top of the box to beat ’keeper Mahmud Kandil and snatch the three points.
“I have to credit Atzili,” said Haifa coach Barak Bachar. “At the point in the game after having given up a goal in the 86th minute, you can’t take for granted what Atzili did by scoring the winner. This was a tough win and one which I hope will give us a push as we continue on.”
“I believe that we played a good game and I am very proud of the players,” Sakhnin coach Sharon Mimer said. “Although the result isn’t what we had wanted, we still came back and it shows the character of our team against a club that is above our league.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Petah Tikva drew 1-1 to split the points at Bloomfield Stadium.
Stipe Perica scored his first goal for Patrick van Leeuwen’s team when he put home a Gaby Kanichowsky rebound in the 31st minute to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. But Lameck Banda nodded the ball behind Danial Peretz in the second half to earn a point for Guy Luzon’s squad.
“This isn’t how we wanted to begin the season,” Van Leeuwen exclaimed. “We deserved more, especially at the start, but the chances we created near the end were just too late. The new players were fine and the goal was scored by them but we needed to do more and finish off the game.”
“We never undervalue ourselves and we never come in as underdogs against any other team at any stadium,” noted Luzon. “We wanted to control the game and press from the start and they created chances from long balls and not proper soccer plays. We knew they would come from the wings and cross the ball into the box but we were ready for that.”
Elsewhere, Hapoel Tel Aviv traveled up north to Kiryat Shmona, where it blanked the hosts 2-0 on a second-half brace by Yoav Tomer to keep the Reds a perfect 2-0 on the young season.
“Our goal was to start the season on the right foot and I’m happy to take the three important points on a tough pitch,” assistant coach Saleem Tuama said following the game. “We were missing a number of players, but head coach Nir Klinger wanted us to have a big squad where everyone could contribute and I’m thrilled that was the case.”
In the southern capital, Hapoel Beersheba and Hapoel Hadera drew 2-2 as the hosts needed to mount a second-half comeback at Toto-Turner Stadium to take a point.
Visiting Hadera took a very early lead as Aviel Ben Hemo scored in his debut while Shoval Gozlan doubled the advantage in the 15th minute as Menachem Koretzky’s team went ahead 2-0.
Eugene Ansah found the back of the goal just as the second half got underway to cut the lead for Roni Levy’s squad, while Mariano Bareiro scored from in close to draw Beersheba even at 2-2 as the clubs split the points.
“I understand that fans like to see goals but coaches don’t like to give them up,” Levy exclaimed following the match. “We started the game off very poorly and gave up two very easy goals. It’s not easy to come back against a very organized and tactical team.”
“I feel like we really missed out big time,” Koretzky began. “We had this game in our hands. We scored quick goals and we knew Beersheba would open up the second half strong and the goal they scored brought them back onto the game along with their fans and the referees. I’m very disappointed.”

Maccabi Tel Aviv plays a Europa League soccer game at Bloomfield Stadium in their home city last year. The novel uses soccer as a vehicle to tell complex stories about Israeli society (credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)Maccabi Tel Aviv plays a Europa League soccer game at Bloomfield Stadium in their home city last year. The novel uses soccer as a vehicle to tell complex stories about Israeli society (credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

At the port city, Hapoel Haifa dominated Ashdod SC 3-1 as striker Alon Turgeman scored a brace for Elisha Levy’s squad.
Turgeman tested Ashdod ’keeper Yoav Gerafi in the 33rd minute and the shot-stopper made the save, however Alen Ozboly put the rebound in for a 1-0 lead.
Just 25 seconds into the second half, an active Turgeman made no mistake as he doubled the advantage thanks to a Liran Sardel assist. The marksman added his second goal of the game when he scored from in close with Saar Fadida setting up Turgeman this time around.
Ran Ben Shimon’s side pulled back a late goal in second-half injury time via an Amir Agaev penalty to ruin Ohad Levita’s shutout bid.
“We always make adjustments as to who we are playing against,” Haifa coach Levy explained. “Ashdod is a team that likes to hold onto the ball, but we were able to counterattack, which led to our goals, and we could have even scored more. As for Alon Turgeman, he scores in every competition, which is an indication of what type of player he is. He’s a scorer.”
Hapoel Nof Hagalil downed struggling Maccabi Netanya 3-1 on the road to take the three points.
Yaron Hochenboim’s squad opened the scoring at the stroke of halftime as Jenia Berkman found a loose ball in the box after a Kevaughn Frater corner to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
Stav Nachmani doubled the advantage for Nof Hagalil just two minutes into the second half, but Yaniv Mizrachi cut the lead to 2-1 in the 83rd minute, giving the hosts hope to snatch a point. However, Luwagga Kizito’s 89th-minute strike put the game out of reach as Nof Hagalil picked up its first win of the season.
“I have to take my hat off to the players,” Hochenboim began. “We had some injuries and were missing a number of defenders, but the players battled. I want to play as we did in the Leumit League despite the difference of quality between the first and second divisions. We pressed on the field and were able to succeed despite Netanya having their home fans’ support.”
“I’m very disappointed,” said Netanya coach Raymond Atteveld. “The goal we conceded right at halftime was a big issue and we spent the break working on how to get back into the game. But everything fell apart at the start of the second half.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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