Maccabi Tel Aviv opened their Ligat Japanika campaign welcoming Maccabi Haifa, this evening at the Netanya stadium.
Head Coach Vladimir Ivic’s Starting XI included keeper Predrag Rajkovic, Eli Dasa, Sheran Yeini, Jair Amador, Enric Saborit, Dor Peretz, Avi Rikan, Eyal Golasa, Chico Ofoedu, Itay Shechter, and Yonatan Cohen. Available on the bench were keeper Haviv Ohayon, Eitan Tibi, Ruslan Barsky, Dor Micha, Vidar Kjartansson, Omer Atzily, Eliran Atar.
In the 21st minute, Shlomi Azulai of Maccabi Haifa ran directly at the Maccabi defenders, with a deflection taking it back into his path, the Haifa number 10 struck the crossbar for the most significant chance in the opening 20 minutes.
In the 36th minute, Sheran Yeini dramatically cleared the ball off the line after a shot from the middle of the Maccabi Tel Aviv 18-yard box.
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s best chance of the first half came in the closing stages, when Avi Rikan forced Israeli International Guy Haimov into action with a left footed driven strike low to the keepers left. After a rather quiet first half, the two sides were stuck at a 0-0 deadlock.
In the 65’ minute, Itay Shecter received a perfect lob from the substitute Dor Micha, and clinically struck the ball on a half volley into the back of the net. Maccabi Tel Aviv took the lead 1-0.
In the aftermath of the Shechter goal, Michiel Kramer received a straight red card from the referee in the 67’, to take Maccabi Haifa down to 10 men. Maccabi Tel Aviv led 1-0 at that point with a man advantage.
In the 75’ Yonatan Cohen had a knuckling shot saved by an impressive save from Guy Haimov, leading to a corner kick.