Maccabi Tel Aviv took home the three points and the win in a 3:1 victory over Hapoel Haifa on Matchday 8 of the Israel Premier League Ligat Japanika. First half goals by Omer Atzily and Avi Rikan along with a second half marker by Dor Peretz helped the Yellow & Blue to the win. Risto Mitrvesky pulled a late goal back for the host’s. Next Saturday (20:30) Vladimir Ivic’s squad will host Bnei Sakhnin at the Netanya Stadium.

Head Coach Vladimir Ivic’s Starting XI included keeper Predrag Rajkovic, Enric Saborit, Sheran Yeini (c), Shahar Piven, Maor Kandil, Dor Peretz, Avi Rikan, Eyal Golasa, Omer Atzily, Dor Micha and Itay Shechter.

First Half
The match opened up in fine fashion for Maccabi as the Yellow & Blue took a quick 1:0 lead in the 2’. Shechter stole the ball and sent it to Rikan but the Haifa keeper Setkus made the initial save, however, Golasa took the rebound and left it for Atzily who put it into the goal.

In the 10’ Maccabi almost doubled their advantage when Golasa found Atzily who in turn handed the ball off to Shechter, but his attempt just missed the goal. Nine minutes later Roie Shukrani had the host’s first chance but his attempt from 20’ meter went over the bar. In the 25’ Peretz stole the ball and sent it to Rikan but his opportunity was taken care of by Setkus while 14 minutes later the aforementioned Rikan was issued a yellow card.

But Rikan wasn’t done yet in the half as the midfielder took advantage of a Setkus mistake just before the break by stealing the ball in the box and sent it behind the keeper for a 2:0 lead after 45 minutes.

Second Half
Rikan almost scored his second goal of the game in the 48’ but his 16 meter attempt just whistled by the post while 4 minutes later Golasa came up empty from 18 meters after taking a brilliant ball from Micha. Ivic made his first substitute in the 62’ when Dan Glazer was introduced for Rikan.

In the 68’ Eliran Atar came on for Atzily and a minute later, Atar sent a corner kick into the box to Peretz but his header missed the target. As the match hit the 78’ Shechter had a wonderful chance when he went one on one with the keeper but Setkus was up to the task yet again, but a minute later Peretz headed in a brilliant cross by Micha for a 3:0 Maccabi lead.

Aaron Schoenfeld came into the contest in the 82’ for Shechter. I Haifa pulled a late goal back by Risto Mitrevsky off a Gili Vermouth free kick as Maccabi wrapped up a tidy 3:1 win. Next Saturday (20:30) the Yellow & Blue will host Bnei Sakhnin at the Netanya Stadium.