Maccabi crowned Champions


Maccabi returned to Bloomfield stadium having played the last three matches on the road to host the ONE ZERO League MD34 match against Hapoel Be’ersheva. On the back of last week’s 1-0 victory away to Maccabi Haifa that opened an eight-point-lead at the top of the table with three matches still left to play, Robbie Keane’s charges know that a victory would officially secure the Championship.

Keane, whose first domestic match in charge of Maccabi was a 6-1 Toto Cup victory against Be’ersheva back in July before winning the Toto Cup in January – could come full circle by winning his second title in he debut season as Maccabi’s Head Coach.
Keane will be forced to be without suspended duo Roy Revivo and Dor Peretz but at the same time welcomes back Felicio Milson who served his one match touchline ban against Haifa at Sammy Ofer.

In the absence of Revivo, Idan Nachmais slotted into the right-back role with Enric Saborit, Raz Shlomo and Ofir Davidzada completing Maccabi’s back four in front of goalkeeper Roi Mishpati.

In midfield, Eden Karzev ket his place as the anchorman right behind Gabi Kanichowsky and Dan Biton. Milson and Osher Davida were back in the side supplying the width and pace on both wings. Eran Zahavi, on the other hand was named amongst the substitutes after recovering from the dislocated collar bone injury he suffered against Haifa as Keane opted to let Dor Turgeman lead the line. Zahavi will be hoping to make an impact coming off the bench if called upon and add to his staggering number of 36 goals scored in all competitions. Alongside Zahavi, Keane also named Daniel Tenenbaum, Avishay Cohen, Yonatan Cohen, Joris van Overeem, Eyal Golasa, Derrick Luckassen, Matan Baltaxa and Ido Shahar.

Prior to kickoff, Maccabi honoured two of its former players as the owner Mitch Goldhar presented Be’ersheva’s Eytan Tibi and Eylon Almog framed shirts for their services for the club. A minute of applauds was also in memory of former goalkeeper Haim Levin who passed away last month at the age of 87.

First Half

With a loud support of an almost full Bloomfield stadium, Maccabi couldn’t have asked for a better start as the visitors were reduced to 10 men 15 seconds after the kickoff as Miguel Vitor tripped Dan Biton on the edge of the box and was shown the red card by referee Gal Leibovic. Biton tried drilling the free kick low, but the ball was blocked by Beersheva’s wall.

Biton could have opened the score several minutes but he blasted his shot high over the crossbar. Biton continued to look lively as in the 25th minute a Helder Lopez foul on him awarded Maccabi a free kick. Biton whipped in resulting free kick before Dor Turgeman flicked it with his head before the ball beat Niv Eliasi to bounce in off the far post. Bloomfield erupted as Maccabi took a precious 1-0 lead.

Felicio Milson came close to double the score on the half hour mark as he cut inside past a defender and rifled a shot which Eliasi managed to claw out before it crept in. Three minutes later Eliasi could do nothing to prevent Maccabi’s second as Milson squared the ball to Ofir Davidzada who on his weak right foot found the bottom corner to make it 2-0.

Second Half

Robbie Keane introduced Ido Shahar for Osher Davida at the restart, his Beersheva counterpart Elyaniv Barda sent in Maximo Levy, Roy Gordana and Ilay Madmon for Or Dadia, Iran Omar and Alon Turgeman.

Maccabi continued to dominate placing Beersheva’s goal under siege as Enric Saborit’s dangerous cross right on the hour mark was missed by Idan Nachmias who failed to connect. Two minutes later Biton flashed a shot which narrowly missed the target. Keane made a double substitution on 65 as Eden Karzev and Biton bowed out and we’re replaced by Joris van Overeem and Eran Zahavi.

In the 69th minute Maccabi cut through Be’ersheva’s defense as Ido Shahar side footed the ball in the bottom far corner to make it 3-0.

Davidzada came off to a standing ovation as he was replaced by Matan Baltaxa for Keane’s fourth substitution on the night. In the 83rd minute Keane made his final change as he introduced Yonatan Cohen for Turgeman who received a standing ovation from the 25,180 fans. Cohen’s impact was almost instant as Eliasi saved from Zahavi while Cohen pounced on the rebound and blasted his shot against the base of the post.