Ready for the Playoffs: Maccabi defeats Petah Tikva 2:0

The Yellow & Blue defeated Maccabi Petah Tikva 2:0 to wrap up the regular season in style. Vidar Kjartansson and Avi Rikan scored first half goals for Maccabi Tel Aviv who will face Hapoel Haifa to open up the Championship Playoffs next week on Matchday 27.

Head coach Jordi Cruyff’s Starting XI: Keeper Predrag Rajikovic, Eli Dasa, Yuval Shpungin, Eitan Tibi, Jean-Sylvain Babin, Dor Micha (C), Eyal Golasa, Avi Rikan, Dor Peretz, Nick Blackman, Vidar Kjartansson.

Available on the bench: Keeper Daniel Tenenbaum, Ofir Davidzada, Tal Ben Haim, Barak Itzhaki, Gidi Kanuk, Eliran Atar and Jose Rodriguez.

First Half
Maccabi opened well and looked to have taken a quick lead in the 2’ but Blackman’s attempt was called off by the referee due to a handball. Four minutes later Richard Soma’s free kick from the right of the goal just went wide of the target and in the 8’ the Yellow & Blue had another strike the time by Micha called off due to an offside call.

However, in the 17’ Kjartansson put the ball into the Petah Tikva goal for a 1:0 lead thanks to a Dasa assist from the right wing. Four minutes later Rikan’s chance was saved by the Petah Tikva keeper Ginzburg and in the 23’ a Petah Tikva counter led by Manor Solomon was saved by Rajikovic to keep the score as is. In the 25’ Micha sent the ball into the box to Vidar, who left it for Golasa who in turn handed it off to Blackman but the striker’s attempt was taken care of by Ginzburg.

In the 35’ Rikan came in from the left side and put the ball into the area to Blackman, but his opportunity went wide right and out. With Maccabi looking to add a second goal they would find it right at the stroke of halftime as Rikan’s corner kick rebounded back to him on the left side as he unleashed a masterpiece of a curler that found the top right hand corner of the goal to give the Yellow & Blue a 2:0 lead at the break.

Second Half
The first quarter hour of the second half was played primarily in the midfield as both sides had no clear chances on goal. Rikan was issued a yellow card in the 63’ and was substituted off four minutes later in favor of Jose Rodriguez. In the 68’ Dasa took a magnificent through ball from Micha and had a one on one situation in front of the goal but put the ball just wide right.

Five minutes later Golasa was pulled down in the box good for a penalty, but Blackman couldn’t convert the spot kick as Ginzburg made the save. Rodriguez picked up a yellow card in the 74’ and Gidi Kanuk made his Maccabi debut when he came on for Rikan. A minute later Kanuk was welcomed with a yellow card of his own and Cruyff made the third substitute of the contest as Eliran Atar was introduced in favor of Kjartansson as Maccabi wrapped up the 2:0 win.