Maccabi Tel Aviv shared the points after drawing 3-3 away to Maccabi Netanya. Dor Micha, Eden Ben Basat and Eran Zahavi scored for the visitors
After going seven league matches and over 700 minutes without conceding, Maccabi Tel Aviv tonight played out an action packed six-goal 3-3 draw away to Maccabi Netanya. Maccabi Tel Aviv twice came from behind and even took the lead thirteen minutes from time courtesy of a superb strike by midfielder Eran Zahavi, his 19th goal of the season. But a determined Maccabi Netanya side struck back just two minutes later to bring the teams level at 3-3 and after three minutes of extra time Maccabi Tel Aviv were obliged to share the points and settle for a draw that still leaves them two points ahead of title rivals Ironi Kiryat Shmona at the top of the Israeli Premier ("Winner") League.
It was the home side that got off to the more energetic start and with only six minutes on the clock forward Ran Rol burst down the right and narrowly missed the post with a level shot. Moments later striker Olarenwaju Kayode got ahead of the Maccabi Tel Aviv defence with only the keeper to beat, but Juan Pablo managed to dispossess him before he could get off a shot. Not so on the quarter-hour mark, when the Nigerian latched on to a wayward pass by defender Yoav Ziv inside the Maccabi Tel Aviv half and rounded an onrushing Juan Pablo to strike into an open goal and put the home side ahead 1-0. The lead lasted just five minutes though as Ziv made amends by sending a pinpoint cross from the left to midfielder Dor Micha, who volleyed in from close range to bring the sides level at 1-1. But Netanya were not discouraged by the setback and moments later Brazilian midfielder Romario Pires sent at shot into the Maccabi Tel Aviv area that captain Sheran Yeini nearly headed back into his own net, but the ball was saved acrobatically by Juan Pablo for a corner. Just after the half-hour mark Maccabi Tel Aviv were saved again, this time by the woodwork, when Netanya's veteran captain Eran Levy hit the post from inside the area. But four minutes from the break they found themselves trailing for a second time in the match, again at the hands of Olarenwaju Kayode who again took advantage of a defensive error, charged towards the goal and shot past Juan Pablo to give his side a 2-1 advantage at the half.
The second half opened with the visitors in the ascendance and with just five minutes gone midfielder Gal Alberman picked out Eden Ben Basat charging down the left and lifted a ball that landed directly on his foot and the striker volleyed home from the edge of the area to restore parity at 2-2. Just past the hour mark winger Tal Ben Chaim nearly completed the turnaround when he tried to chip over the head of Ariel Harush at close range, but the Netanya keeper got a glove to it. But a quarter of an hour later there was nothing he could do to stop substitute Eran Zahavi, who took a send-on from fellow midfielder Mahran Radi some twenty metres out and let fly with a brilliant effort to the upper right-hand corner of the Netanya keeper's net that put Maccabi Tel Aviv ahead for the first time in the match 2-3. But that lead too lasted but two minutes as yet a another defensive error saw Kayode once again heading alone for the Maccabi Tel Aviv goal. Juan Pablo again dispossessed him but a poor clearance by defender Juan Carlos enabled substitute midfielder Dia Saba to lash the ball back into the net to bring the sides level for the third time in the match. Despite concerted efforts by both clubs, neither side were able to conjure up a winner and the match ended 3-3.
On Wednesday Maccabi will head north to face Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the first leg of the Israeli State Cup quarter finals. Next Monday the two sides will meet again, this time at Bloomfield Stadium, for matchweek 22 of the israeli Premier ("Winner") League.