Dor Peretz is a candidate for UEFA’s Conference League Player of the Week award after scoring two first-half headers in Maccabi’s 3-1 victory over Zorya Luhansk. The 28-year-old midfielder couldn’t hide his emotions as he spoke after the game about the month Israel has experienced since the attack of October 7th which began the war.

“These are feelings I can’t explain. Football gives you a moment of escapism from the reality back home as I hope we were able to give the citizens of Israel, the people who are protecting us, the Maccabi Tel Aviv fans and the rest of the fans one moment of pleasure and maybe even a little pride. I would like to dedicate the victory to many families who experienced carnage, whether that be fans who were murdered or experienced horrific horrors that words just can’t describe. I really hope the Maccabi Tel Aviv family gave them something comforting this evening, restored a little pride and I hope we managed to represent Israel the way we wished ourselves before the game.”

Peretz, who managed to hide his tears yet kept his composure, summed up the feeling in the camp: “This match was a lot more than football. We came to represent our country, our emblem, citizens, soldiers, people kidnapped and held hostage. This is a situation our entire nation is experiencing and I just hope we managed to give them all one moment of peace and joy.”