Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Ironi Ramat Hasharon 1-0 with a goal from second-half substitute Eran Zahavi on his first touch of the game
In matchweek six of the Israeli Premier League, almost six months to the day of playing their championship match of the 2012/13 season, Maccabi Tel Aviv tonight revisited that special moment by hosting the same Ironi Ramat Hasharon team at the same Ramat Gan National Stadium venue, due to the winter re-seeding of Bloomfield Stadium.
The first half opened with Maccabi on the attack and just past the quarter hour mark midfielder Gal Alberman's strike from outside the area was parried by Ramat Hasharon keeper Ittimar Nitzan into the path of striker Tal Ben Haim, who shot wide. Ben Haim had two more first half opportunities, one just short of the half hour mark from the edge of the area and the second nine minutes later, when he narrowly missed netting a cross from fellow striker Gael Magulies. But at the whistle closing the half the match remained goalless.
The second half started with a fortuitous substitution, with midfielder Eran Zahavi replacing defender Yoav Ziv. Hardly two minutes on the pitch, he received a pass on the right from Ben Haim advancing down the middle and with Nitzan rushing out to stop him, Zahavi neatly chipped the ball over the keeper's head into the net to put Maccab 1-0 in front. Five minutes later, Ramat Hasharon made their best attempt to get back into the match but Bosnian striker Emir Hadzic headed wide past the goalmouth of Maccabi keeper Juan Pablo. Maccabi goalscorer Zahavi made a further attempt to score with an accurate shot from 25 metres out but Nitzan just managed to get a hand to it and tip it over the bar. Further chances in the second half went begging and the match ended with all the points going to Maccabi.
Maccabi Tel Aviv's next challenge will be on Thursday night, when they play their third round Europa League group stage match at Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt. Next Monday night at 9pm, Maccabi will host surprise top flight challengers Bnei Sakhnin in matchweek seven of the Israeli Premier League.