Maccabi beat Ashdod 4-1


Three days after the 4-1 victory over NK Celje 4-1 in the first leg of the Conference League Playoffs, Maccabi Tel Aviv returned to Bloomfield stadium for the 2023/24 ONE ZERO League opening match of the season.

Maccabi’s Head Coach, Robbie Keane, who guided the side to the Toto Cup Final with a 5-1 victory away to Sakhnin last week, will aim to begin the league campaign on a high not.

Keane, made two changes from the side that beat Celje as Roi Mishpati made his debut appearance in Maccabi’s goal replacing Daniel Peretz who completed his transfer to Bayern Munich. Derrick Luckassen was named as the defensive partner of Enric Saborit with Yvann Macon and Roy Revivo at right-back and left-back respectively. Joris vn Overeem kept his place as the anchorman as did Dor Peretz and Dan Biton who completed the midfield trio. Yonatan Cohen and Milson were named by Keane as the two wing-men with Eran Zahavi leading the line. The veteran striker wearing the captain’s armband was aiming to open his league account having started the season with 8 goals in 7 competitive matches in all competitions.

Daniel Tenenbaum, who rejoined the club last week, was named by Keane on the substitutes bench as were Idan Nachmias, Dan Glazer, Dor Turgeman, Gabi Kanichowsky, Ofir Davidzada, Eylon Almog, Ido Shahar and Nir Bitton.

First Half

Maccabi began the match on the front foot with Milson causing Ashdod’s defense all sorts of trouble down the left wing. Three minutes from the start the Angolan winger was brought down inside the area, but had his claims for a penalty waived by referee Gal Leibovitz. Maccabi kept on placing Ashdod under the cosh as Milson’s speed and trickery took him past Tom Ben Zaken only for the visitors’ defenders clear his cut backs. Yvann Macon and Yonatan Cohen combined well down the right as Maccabi kept attacking through the channels.

In the 23rd minute Joris van Overeem was penalised for fouling an Ashdod opponent before Ya’acov Brihon sent the free kick wide of Roi Mishpati’s post. Ben Zaken avoided a clear booking for stopping a Milson counter attack on 25 while a minute later Dor Peretz had a header blocked for a corner.

Brihon tested Mishpati with a curling right foot shot which was pushed put for a corner by Maccabi’s debutant keeper. Eran Zahavi got his first chance to score on 37 after Cohen slid the ball to him on the edge of the area. But the veteran striker had his left foot effort blocked by Timothy Awany as Ashdod kept hanging on with Ariel Harush required to make a save.

Ashdod looked dangerous on the counter as the visitors came close to break the deadlock on the stroke of halftime as Brihon carried the ball out of defense before Shavit Mazal turned and rattled the crossbar with a powerful left foot drive.

Second Half

The second half began just like the first did with Milson constantly questioning Ashdod’s defenders as he kept on breaking into the area yet struggle to find a teammate with his crosses. In the 52nd minute however the Angolan sent a pinpoint chip into the area for Zahavi who rose high before heading the ball which Harush couldn’t keep out. Zahavi celebrated his first league goal of the season and ninth in eight competitive matches. In the 59th minute Zahavi turned provider as he dinked the ball over Ashdod’s defense into the path of Roy Revivo who slotted home his senior debut goal to double the score.

Zahavi was instrumental for Maccabi’s third in the 70th minutes as he released Dor Peretz with a clever flick. Peretz charged into the area and sent a square ball across the face of goal which was flicked by Awany into his own net to make it 3-0. Keane made a double substitution a minute later as Gabi Kanichowsky and Dor Turgeman replaced Biton and Cohen while two minutes later Peretz bowed out to a standing ovation as Ido Shahar came on for the closing stages.

Revivo and Van Overeem received their standing ovation from the 22,108 fans as the Keane made his final two changes introducing Ofir Davidzada and Dan Glazer on 78.

Milson scored his debut goal in the 84th minute as he exchanged passes with Shahar to break through before sliding the ball past Harush to make it 4-0. Two minutes later Montari Kamaheni who was booked earlier, was sent off for a second bookable offence after a tackle from behind on Milson to leave the visitors with 10 men.