The Yellow-and-Blue winger has had many memorable matches while playing with Maccabi Tel Aviv and this past Saturday is just another one that will go down in his colorful career when he put on the ‘keeper’s shirt in the 82nd minute as Daniel Lifshitz was shown a red card and was sent off.
Ben Chaim’s name will be added to the record books as a player who replaced an ejected ‘keeper with the last one being Maccabi’s former captain Sheran Yeini.
And it happened twice for him with the first time being during the 2010/11 season on Matchday 30 against Hapoel Beer Sheva at Bloomfield Stadium. With the visitors leading 1:0, the then Maccabi ‘keeper Liran Strauber committed a foul on Ibrahim Basit in the box, and was shown a red card by referee Eitan Tabrizi. Yeini was chosen to play ‘keeper and came close to saving David Revivo’s free kick. Yeini dove to the correct corner, got his fingers on the ball, but was unable to make the save.
Four years later, Yeini was thrust into the same situation when the Yellow-and-Blue hosted Maccabi Netanya last season and had to pull on the ‘keeper’s jersey once again. With Netanya leading 1-0 on a goal by Larry Kayode, Maccabi stormed back to score three unanswered goals and take a 3-1 lead.
In the 79th minute, Juan Pablo received a red card after touching the ball with his hand outside the box and again it was the captain who took matters into his own hands. Yeini donned the ‘keeper’s gloves and stood in goal for the final 11 minutes of the match. Netanya tried to pressure Yeini and his 88th minute save on Omer Tzalicher preserved the score.
“The truth is that Sheran Yeini actually plays pretty well in goal. Maybe we should think about him starting against Kiryat Shemona next week,” said coach Pako Ayestaran following the game. The captain added, “I’m already a veteran ‘keeper and this was my second game in goal for a league match. I’m a little disappointed with my work in goal so I’ll have to work in it during practice.”