Maccabi returned to Bloomfield stadium for the opening Conference League group stage match against Icelandic outfit Breidablik with a clear intention of getting this phase of the competition off to a winning start. Maccabi’s Head Coach, Robbie Keane, made four changes from the side which was held to a 1-1 draw by Maccabi Bnei Reineh in the league.
Roi Mishpati kept his place in goal with Enric Saborit and Derrick Luckassen lining up as the two central defenders Infront of him. Roy Revivo stepped back into the side at left-back with Yvann Macon completing Maccabi’s back-four on the right. Joris van Overeem in the anchorman role together with Dor Peretz and Dan Biton who returned to the starting line-up were Maccabi’s midfield trio. Osher Davida made his debut start on one wing with Felicio Milson supplying te width on the opposite flank. Eran Zahavi led the team out wearing the captain’s armband as the veteran marksman spearheaded Maccabi’s attack.
On the bench Keane named Daniel Tenenbaum, Avishai Cohen, Idan Nachmias, Dor Turgeman, Yonatan Cohen, Gabi Kanichowsky, Sheran Yeini, Eyal Golasa, Ofir Dabidzada, Ido Shahar and Nir Bitton.
In a bid to get off to a good start Maccabi began the match with pressure on Breidablik’s defence, yet none of their efforts in the early stages caused a threat on goal. In the 11th minute however Yvann Macon produced an amazing strike that didn’t lack power or accuracy to break the deadlock. The French right-back picked the ball some 25 meters away from goal before unleashing a thunderbolt that rocketed past Anton Einarsson into the top corner to open his account.
Dan Biton rifled a shot that struck the side netting minutes later but on 24th the fans were back on their feet to celebrate the second. Joris van Overeem squared the ball to Eran Zahavi in the middle of the area before the 36-year-old turned his marker and found the bottom corner with a clinical finish.
Two minutes after the half-hour mark Maccabi made it 3-0 as Biton began the move down the right before sending the ball to Zahavi whose heavy touch saw it reach Dor Peretz. The midfielder broke into the box, but his effort was blocked only for Biton to slide in the rebound.
The visitors cut the deficit in the 44th after a quick move down the left side of Maccabi’s defense left Breidablik’s striker Klaemint Olsen with an easy tap-in to make it 3-1. On the stroke of halftime, Peretz was first to meet Biton’s free kick, but the midfielder couldn’t keep his header on target as the ball sailed over.
With no changes after the interval to either side, the second half began with Breidablik looking dangerous mostly from set pieces. Maccabi on the other hand, came close four minutes after restart as Biton raced through and slid the ball to Milson whose effort was saved by Einarsson.
In the 55th minute the Icelanders punished Maccabi as Olsen was left unmarked at the far post to head in a corner to cut the deficit even further with his second of the game.
Olsen continued to be Breidablik’s dangerman as he fired a low powerful drive in the 61st minute which was equalled by Mishpati. Maccabi’s coach Robbie Keane reacted and made a double substitution as he introduced Avishai Cohen for Macon while Yonatan Cohen was introduced for Osher Davida on 64.
The visitors refused to break down despite the hot and humid weather conditions while Maccabi couldn’t find a clinical pass to open Breidablik’s defence. Keane made another change as Gabi Kanichowsky replaced Biton on 77. Three minutes later Roy Revivo skipped past a defender and left Enric Saborit with only the keeper to beat but Einarsson charged off his line to deny the Spanish defender.
Zahavi came off to a standing ovation while the introduction of Dor Turgeman on 87 raised a cheer from the 18,558 fans at Bloomfield. Turgeman looked lively twisting and turning a defender in the box before Milson forced a save from Einarsson.