The Yellow & Blue collected 3 points and the 3:0 win over Maccabi Netanya on Matchday 17 of the Israel Premier League Ligat Ha’Al at the Netanya Stadium. Barak Itzhaki and Vidar Kjartansson with a brace scored second half goals to help Maccabi to the victory and pull to within 2 points of table leaders Hapoel Beer Sheva. Maccabi played with an extra man from the 11’ after Netanya’s Koby Mor pulled down Vidar in the box and was awarded a red card. Next Monday, Maccabi visits Sammy Ofer Stadium for a date with Maccabi Haifa.
Head Coach Jordi Cruyff’s Starting XI featured Serbian keeper Predrag Rajikovic, Eli Dasa, Jean-Sylvain Babin, Eitan Tibi, Captain Sheran Yeini, Dor Micha, Dor Peretz, Eyal Golasa, Avi Rikan, Nick Blackman and Vidar Kjartansson.
Available on the bench were keeper Daniel Tenenbaum, Jose Rodriguez, Barak Itzhaki, Aaron Schoenfeld, Tal Ben Haim, Ofir Davidzada, Cristian Battocchio.
The match began with back and forth action as each side tried pressing for a goal and it would be Maccabi with the first chance via penalty to score after Vidar was pulled down in the box by Koby Mor who was issued a red card for his efforts. However, the Icelandic striker’s spot kick was saved by Dani Amos to keep the contest goalless in the 13’.
Babin was handed a yellow card in the 20’ for a reckless tackle while two minutes later Vidar had another opportunity on goal but Amos was again up to the task. Micha picked up a yellow card in the 29’ and 3 minutes later Golasa’s attempt from the top left corner of the box hit the outside netting of the goal and went out.
In the 35’ Aviv Avraham took a shot from long distance but Rajiko pushed the ball out for a corner and in the 38’ Peretz was issued a yellow card for pushing Dia Saba down from behind as he made his way across midfield. Golasa’s attempt from 20 meters was saved by Amos and Micha sent Rikan a ball in the box who handed it off to Blackman but the Englishman put it over the bar as the half ended goalless.
The Yellow & Blue looked to find the first goal of the contest and Vidar almost did just that, but his 46’ chance went over the goal, while 5 minutes later Tibi’s header off a Micha free kick also flew over the bar. Micha left Rikan a ball that he crossed to Vidar, but the Icelander’s opportunity just missed the goal by centimeters in the 54’ and 8 minutes later Rikan’s free kick was just parried away by Amos at the last second.
Barak Itzhaki came in for the aforementioned Rikan in the 64’ to try and freshen up the Maccabi attack and Dasa was issued a yellow card in the 73’. Yeini then made a terrific defensive play by swiping the ball away from Eran Levy in the box to keep the score as is. But the match didn’t remain 0:0 for much longer.
Golasa sent Itzhaki a tremendous pass to his left from just above the box as the veteran striker in turn slotted it behind a helpless Amos for a 1:0 Maccabi lead in the 75’. Cristian Battocchio then entered the match for Peretz a minute later as the Yellow & Blue looked to add to their lead. And add to their lead they would!
Dasa sent the Iceman a marvelous pass to put Vidar in a One on One situation against Amos that he easily took advantage of to take a 2:0 lead in the 83’. Blackman picked up a yellow card in the 87’ while Jose Rodriguez came on for Golasa. If you thought the party was over, you were mistaken as Rodriguez fed Kjartansson a masterful ball that the Icelandic striker put home for his second of the night in added time to put a bow on a 3:0 Maccabi win.