"Little" Derby drama: Deep into stoppage time a spectacular winner by Moshe Lugassi, following an impressive brace by Rade Prica, handed Maccabi Tel Aviv a last minute 3-2 win over Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield

Last night Maccabi Tel Aviv showed the kind of true character that championships are made of. Trailing 2-1 at the end of regulation play they overturned a one goal deficit in stoppage time with two determined and impressive goals by Rade Prica and Moshe Lugassi to snatch victory from the mouth of defeat and collect all three points for the Yellow half of the "little" derby against Bnei Yehuda.  


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A week to the day after their unforgettable triumph in the "big" derby against city rivals Hapoel Tel Aviv, Maccabi Tel Aviv readied themselves to face their other Tel Aviv neighbour, Bnei Yehuda, who arrived at Bloomfield on the back of a 5-3 win over Maccabi Netanya in round 22. Maccabi started brightly, applying pressure on the Bnei Yehuda defence, but chances from the middle of the area by Maccabi's two strikers, Rade Prica and Eliran Atar, went begging. On twenty minutes midfielder Dor Micha latched onto a ball at the edge of the area and sent it flying over the bar of Bnei Yehuda keeper Dele Ainogba's net. But the rest of the first half passed without incident and at the whistle both sides headed for the dressing rooms without having seriously threatened the opposition's goal.


The second half opened with a counterattack from Bnei Yehuda that ended in a shot by Adam Harapka that went straight into the outstretched arms of Maccabi keeper Barak Levi. Maccabi finally made their breakthrough seven minutes later when defender Yoav Ziv took a short corner and swung it into the area to find an unmarked Prica who headed in for his first goal of the evening. Twenty minutes later Bnei Yehuda equalised when substitute Shalev Menashe headed a well-placed cross into the far post past Maccabi keeper Barak Levi. Bnei Yehuda's second came just one minute from regulation time, when Levi lay injured in front of his own goal after parrying a strike from Pedro Galavan with his head. The referee waved play on and Oz Rali collected the rebound and looped it into an open Maccabi net for 2-1. But even with regulation play almost at an end Maccabi never gave up and a minute later Rade Prica latched onto a headed pass from substitute Moannes Dabbur to slam his second goal on the night past Bnei Yehuda keeper Dele Ainogba to dramatically even the score at 2-2. But the real drama of the evening was yet to come as five minutes into stoppage time Maccabi defender Sheran Yeini serviced a ball for substitute midfielder Moshe Lugassi, who in the last play of the game sent a spectacular drive past keeper Ainogba to complete the second turnaround of the evening for a dramatic 3-2 Maccabi victory, setting off wild celebrations in the yellow half of Bloomfield Stadium.


This coming Saturday Maccabi Tel Aviv will host Hapoel Ramat Hasharon in round 24 of the Premiere (Winner) league.