Maccabi Tel Aviv goalkeeper, Vincent Enyeama, is quick to point out that despite the disappointment of losing the Tel Aviv Derby last night, the end of the season is still a long way off
This season's first Tel Aviv Derby between Maccabi Tel Aviv and arch rivals Hapoel Tel Aviv ended in disappointment for the yellow half of the pitch. The fate of the match, which also saw two players shown red cards, was decided in the end by two spot kicks: Just before half time Maccabi striker Eliran Atar missed his, while ten minutes from time Hapoel striker Omed Damari didn't. The 1600 Maccabi fans crowded into terraces 10-11 had hoped to leave Bloomfield Stadium with a better result, but Maccabi's second league loss this season coming as it did in the Derby only made it that much more disappointing. After the match MTA players appeared in front of the cameras and microphones and shared their thoughts on what had happened on the pitch.
Goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama provided a short analysis of the match but despite the disappointment of losing was mostly keen to maintain an atmosphere of "business as usual": "We're actually quite pleased with our performance, we soldiered on even when we were down to nine men and when you look at it Hapoel hardly had a chance throughout the match except for the penalty. This result notwithstanding, we have a long way to go this season, lots of matches, and we have to regain our composure after this match. We're still two points clear but even if that was nine points, it still wouldn't mean very much at this point in the season, we play until May".
Midfielder Gonzalo Garcia, playing in his first derby for Maccabi, was also disappointed but also hopeful regarding the rest of the season: "We dominated the match and carved out chances even after conceding the penalty. It's never fun to lose but if we continue to play this way I believe the prospects for this season are good. The distance between us and Hapoel in the table really doesn't matter, we proved tonight that we're the better side".
Despite the disappointment of losing, Maccabi head coach Oscar Garcia looked for the positives: "I think we played well with eleven men, with ten men, even with nine men, we held possession and moved the ball well but we were up against eleven good players. The only difference was in the result, one penalty was converted and the other one wasn't. We played the match our way but we let our chances go begging and hence the final result. It's hard to be happy because we lost but I'm proud of the players, they gave it everything they had".
On Saturday, Maccabi will have the opportunity to get back on a winning track but against an improving side like Bnei Yehuda, it won't be easy. Enyeama hopes the players will recover as quickly from their second loss this season as they did from their first: "After losing to Hapoel Beer Sheva we beat Ashdod FC and it's important for us to get back to winning in the next match against a strong side like Bnei Yehuda. We respect them but we have to maintain our lead at the top of the table".