Three days after the Conference League 1-1 draw against LASK in Klagenfurt, Maccabi put aside the European campaign and turned attention to the league. After an indifferent start that saw them record only a single defeat from their opening four league matches, Maccabi hosted Hapoel Jerusalem at Bloomfield stadium. Maccabi’s coach Patrick van Leeuwen made three changes to the starting line-up that salvaged a point in Austria, but also made two more changes within the team.
Daniel Peretz, kept his place in goal while Sheran Yeini replaced Shahar Piven and dropped from the heart midfield to the central defender role. Other than that the defnce remained unchanged with Luis Hernandez partnering Yeini while Andre Geraldes and Ofir Davidzada completed the back four on the right and left respectively. Eden Shamir, who made a substitute appearance in Austria and scored the late equaliser against LASK replaced Yeini in midfield. Dan Glazer remained in his anchorman role, while Gabi Kanichowsky also changed his position from a winger to the attacking midfielder at the expense of Dan Biton. With Kanichowsky spearheading the midfield trio and Brandley Kuwas waiting for his chance on the bench, Matan Hozez and Eduardo Guerrero were both named as the two wingers in support of Stipe Perica.
Idan Nachmias, Maor Kandil and Tal Ben Chaim who are all nursing injuries were left out of the squad. Van Leeuwen received a boost however following the return to fitness of Eyal Golasa who recovered from a knee injury that sidelined him for six months as well as Enric Saborit who was out for a month – naming the duo amongst the substitutes.
Maccabi had the ball in the back of the net after four minutes as Stipe Perica fed Eduardo Guerrero before the Panamanian blasted a shot into the that was too powerful for Adebayo Adeleye. But Guerrero’s celebrations were shortlived as the goal was disallowed for offside and even VAR didn’t help. Maccabi continued to dominate as two minutes later, Matan Hozez sent a shot that Adebayo caught while in the 10th minute Guerrero curled a powerful drive that narrowly missed the target.
The longer the match progressed Hapoel Jerusalem began to get into the game as the visitors sent two headers wide of Daniel Peretz’s goal. Right on the half hour mark Jerusalem failed to clear a long Luis Hernandez throw in which fell to Gabi Kanichowsky whose volley was parried by Adeleye before Perica couldn’t reach the rebound.
Hozez became the first player to go into the book of referee Snir Levi for a high tackle on a Jerusalem defender in the 34th minute. Kanichowsky blasted a right foot shot from the edge of the area that cleared the crossbar in the 41st minute.
With no goals before the end of the half, both coaches made one change at halftime replacing their strikers as Patrick van Leeuwen introduced Osama Khalaila for Perica while his counterpart Ziv Ariye sent in Ben Meizan for Idan Shemesh.
Van Leeuwen made his second change in the 52nd minute as the tired Kanichowsky was replaced by Dan Biton. An Ofir Davidzada dangerous cross from the left in the 58th minute was knocked down by Guerrero into the path of Khalaila whose attempt of an overhead bicycle kick rocketed high over the crossbar.
Davidzada tried to shoot himself in the 62nd minute but the left back on his weak right foot, sent his effort wide of the post. Maccabi continued to press Jerusalem into their penalty box as a minute later, Khalaila blasted a half volley high into the stand.
Hozez tried a shot in the 66th minute that deflected off a Jerusalem defender forcing Adeleye to jump and push that ball that threatened to go in. This was Hozez’s final contribution on the night as he was replaced by Brandley Kuwas two minutes later.
Another Hernandez throw in was flicked by Khalaila but Guerrero sent his volley wide on 74.
Three minutes later ar the opposite end Ahmed Salman forced Daniel Peretz to make his first save to keep out the Jerusalem striker’s shot. The majority of the 14,587 fans at Bloomfield were on their feet cheering as they welcomed back Eyal Golasa who was introduced for Eden Shamir on 79 while Enric Saborit came in for Davidzada.
Biton had a left foot shot deflected for a corner in the 84th and from the resulting corner Maccabi finally broke the deadlock. Brandley Kuwas found Guerrero unmarked in the area before the Panamanian beat Adeleye with a powerful low drive that found the bottom far corner.
Golasa could have completed a perfect comeback as inside injury time he broke half the length of the pitch but sent his shot agonisingly wide of the target.