After last week’s important win against Beer Sheva, the Under-19 club traveled to Ashkelon the last place team on Matchday 25 of the Israel Youth Premier League Ligat Ha’Al. The young Yellow & Blue entered the day in first place with a 2 point lead.
Head Coach Guy Tzarfati’s Starting XI included: Daniel Peretz, Noam Cohen, Alon Shtrozberg. Yoav Hofmayster, Tomer Mahluf, Amit Glazer, Mufleh Shalata, Tomer Altman, Netanel Peretz, Eylon Almog and William Agada.
Prince Thomas was unavailable as he was in IDF basic training.
The small pitch allowed for the host’s to play a more defensive style of game with counterattack’s which was evident from the outset of the contest as the first chance was in the 5’ by Ashkelon when a cross from the wing found their striker in the box but his header went out. Ten minutes later Shalata tried his luck from outside of the box but the ball found the outside netting of the goal.
In the 22’ Altman had a nice attempt, but his shot was taken care of by the keeper as the next twenty minutes were played primarily in the midfield with the young Yellow & Blue controlling the pace. With two minutes left in the half, Tzarfati’s charges got onto the board as a cross from the left made its way into the box and was touched by an Ashkelon defender’s hand, good for a spot kick. Almog made no mistake from 11 meters and sent the ball into the left corner, behind the keeper who had guessed the correct side but was too late to make the save. 1:0 Maccabi as the two teams headed into the break.
The opening 25 minutes of the second half was again played in the midfield with very few chances being created by either squad as the Yellow & Blue controlled the pace of play.
In the 70’ Maccabi doubled the lead off a short corner. Shalata sent the ball to Altman who lifted it towards the goal as the opposing keeper went out to make the save, Agada arrived in time to head it home for a 2:0 advantage. Five minutes later, Agada sent a through ball 40 meters down the left wing to Eyal Hen who passed to Nidam, but his opportunity was taken care of by the Ashkelon keeper.
The host’s tried to cut the lead in the 80’ but Peretz made the alert save to send the ball out for a corner as the match came to an end with Maccabi “Shachar” taking home the 3-points and the win to remain in first place.