An own goal by Ashdod centre back Paty Yeye Lenkebe and a second half score by midfielder Eran Zahavi handed Maccabi Tel Aviv their ninth home win out of ten in this season's Israeli Premier ("Winner") League
After having lost in the league for only the second time this season last Monday night at the hands of Ironi Kiryat Shmona, Maccabi Tel Aviv returned home to Bloomfield Stadium to face Ashdod FC in Saturday's early kick-off. In the first round fixture in Ashdod the sides finished in a goalless draw, but this time out both goalkeepers were already called into action before many of the spectators had settled comfortably into their seats. With just 30 seconds on the clock, Maccabi keeper Juan Pablo left his line to make a good save from Ashdod striker Bentzi Moshel. Two minutes later Ashdod keeper Ofir Marziano was not so fortunate. Defender Paty Yeye Lenkebe rose to a Maccabi corner taken by midfielder Eran Zahavi and turned it past Marziano into his own net to give the home side an early 1-0 lead. After the frenetic opening moments, the tempo of the game relaxed considerably, with both sides struggling to create any significant chances on goal. Maccabi defender Carlos Garcia came close to scoring his first goal for the club while at the other end Ashdod midfielder Gadi Kinda headed wide from close range, but at half time the scoreline remained unchanged.
After the restart Maccabi dominated affairs and their early efforts to double their advantage culminated on the hour mark with an Eran Zahavi header that hit the woodwork. Several minutes later it was Zahavi again in action with a free kick that was cleared off the line, but Maccabi's narrow margin stubbornly refused to grow. The visitors for their part let an excellent chance go begging when the same Moshel found himself with the ball behind the Maccabi defence, but keeper Juan Pablo was once again at the ready. Finally, ten minutes from time, Maccabi's determination paid dividends. Striker Munas Dabbur had his close range shot parried by the Ashdod keeper, but Eran Zahavi pounced on the rebound and after seeing his first effort blocked managed to push his second past Marziano for his twelfth league goal of the season. In injury time Maccabi's substitute striker Rade Prica hit the woodwork but at the referee's whistle the result remained 2-0, providing Maccabi with their ninth home win in ten outings.
Maccabi Tel Aviv will now play their next three games on the road, starting next Saturday with an away encounter against Hapoel Ramat Hasharon. This will be followed by a mid-week State Cup tie in Ashdod and a visit to Netanya Stadium to play Bnei Sakhnin the following Sunday.