After going down 1:0 in the first half, Maccabi stormed back to score two goals in the second half by Nosa Igiebor and Tal Ben Chaim via penalty, however a last gasp effort by Shimon Abuheitzera secured a draw for the visitors as the Yellow & Blue will now get ready for Europa League action at the Netanya Stadium on Thursday night against Russian outfit Zenit St. Petersburg.
Head Coach Shota Arveladze’s Starting XI for the club’s first match after the international break included a number of players who featured for the national teams including Serbian keeper Predrag Rajikovic with a back four of Eli Dasa, Tal Ben Haim, Dor Peretz and Omri Ben Harush in front of him. Haris Medunjanin, Nosa Igiebor and Dor Micha who was acting captain, manned the midfield while Tal Ben Chaim, Oscar Scarione and newcomer Vidar Kjartansson provided the offensive threat.
Available on the bench were Daniel Lifshitz, Egor Filipenka, Yossi Benayoun, Gal Alberman, Eden Ben Basat, Barak Itzhaki and Avi Rikan.
Itay Shechter went on the attack right from the get go, but his first minute one-on-one effort was saved by Rajikovic as the visitors looked to take a very early lead. In the 5th minute, it was Maccabi’s turn as Ben Chaim lifted a gorgeous ball in the box that Kjartansson just missed heading into the back of the goal. Immediately after the Yellow & Blue chance, the match was halted due to a power failure and was restarted in the 15th minute.
Dor Micha found Ben Chaim but his effort was stopped by Kleyman while a beautiful give and go between Micha and Dasa almost found Kjartansson alone in front but Jesus Rueda was just able to get a foot on the ball to knock it to safety in the 28th minute.
Following a pair of yellow cards issued to Itay Shechter and Dor Peretz, Ben Chaim delivered another unbelievable cross from the left side of the box right to the feet of Micha, but his chance went off a Beitar defender and out for a corner kick in the 39th minute as Maccabi continued to threaten.
However, it would be the visitors who would strike first as Idan Vered slotted home the ball from in close to give Jerusalem a 1:0 lead in the 43rd minute. After nine minutes of added time due to the power failure the two sides headed into the break with Beitar maintaining a 1:0 advantage.
It took a bit of time to warm up after the break, but Maccabi finally got on the board through Nosa Igiebor as number 40 headed home a Medunjanin pass in the 59th minute to draw the Yellow & Blue even with a little more than half an hour of play to go in a classic Beitar vs. Maccabi matchup.
Ten minutes later, Maccabi made the classic comeback as Kjartansson was pulled down in the box by Kleyman leading to a Ben Chaim spot kick which he duly converted slamming the ball into the top right hand corner of the goal for a 2:1 lead.
After a Igibeor yellow card, Head Coach Shota Arveladze made his first substitution of the match introducing Gal Alberman for Haris Medunajnin in the 78th minute. After a Scarione yellow card in the 82nd minute, Vidar Kjartansson was subbed off to a standing ovation in his Maccabi debut as Eden Ben Basat came on in his place six minutes later. To round out the Georgian boss’s substitutions, Barak Itzhaki was introduced for Scarione in injury time.
However, Shimon Abuheitzera who was a late substitute headed in a free kick rebound to draw Beitar even at the final whistle 2:2 as Maccabi will now look forward to a Europa League Matchday One encounter on Thursday night against Zenit St. Petersburg at the Netanya Stadium.