Maccabi beat Netanya 2-1 – Maccabi Tel Aviv Football Club
Maccabi Tel Aviv arrived at Sammy Ofer ahead of the league game against Maccabi Netanya who was transferred to Haifa due to a radius ban suffered by the club due to fan misconduct.
Mladen Krstajic, whose side are four points behind second-placed Hapoel Be’ersheva, made several changes from the side that suffered an injury-time loss at Sakhnin last week. Ofir Davidzada returned to the left side of defence, with Enric Saborit paired with Josue Sa as two centre-backs. Andre Geraldes at right-back completed the assigned back four to protect goalkeeper Daniel Peretz.
Dan Glazer led the team with the captain’s armband from the midfield presenter role, before serving a one-game ban on the touchline in Tuesday’s next game against Maccabi Haifa. Eyal Golasa retained his place in midfield and was joined by Avi Rikan, who missed the game at Sakhnin with an ankle injury. Eylon Almog received a rare start at the top of midfield and just behind striking duo Djordje Jovanivic and Stipe Perica.
With several players injured, Krstajic named youngster Orel Baye among the substitutes as the 18-year-old winger who made his senior debut in a draw against Maccabi Jaffa, awaited his chance to make his debut in senior championship. Daniel, Tenenbaum, Matan Baltaxa, Idan Nachmias, Gabi Kanichowsky, Brandley Kuwas, Eden Shamir, Shahar Piven and Oscar Gloukh completed the list of substitutes on the bench awaiting their chance to make an impact.
With less than 10,000 fans in the stadium, those in attendance tried to create an atmosphere resembling a home game. It took three minutes for Maccabi to create a scoring chance that should have ended in a goal. Eylon Almog was sent into the area on the left flank before spotting unmarked Avi Rikan in the middle of the penalty area only for the veteran midfielder to be denied by Netanya goalkeeper Dani Amos. Zlatan Sehovic became the first player to be booked by referee Snir Levy in the 8th minute following a brutal tackle on Andre Geraldes.
Patrick Tumasi tested Daniel Peretz with a curling right-footed shot from outside the box in the 20th minute which was saved by the Maccabi keeper. In the 33rd minute, play was stopped for several minutes as Dan Glazer needed treatment for a head injury following a collision with Netanya striker Igor Zlatanovic.
When play resumed, Tumasi pushed Eden Kartzev to the edge of the area before the former Maccabi midfielder fired a shot that narrowly cleared Peretz’s crossbar in the 38th minute. . Maccabi closed in on the opposite side as Rikan was given another glorious scoring chance, but this time Plamen Galabov headed clear before the ball hit the target. Tumasi unleashed another powerful shot that caught Pertez off guard, but once again he just cleared the crossbar.
Krstajic mixed up his front line as Almog moved to the wing instead of Djordje Jovanovic while Stipe Perica fell back further. In the 52nd minute, a precise long ball from Peretz out of the defense found Almog on the left flank before his backhand reached Perica whose shot was blocked by Galabov’s hand. Perica came forward to take the penalty which he calmly passed Amos to put Maccabi ahead.
But Netanya, who was unbeaten by Maccabi all season, was back level within two minutes as Zlatanovic broke through the middle and fired in the equalizer in the 57th minute. Krstajic was forced to make his first substitution in the 66th as Idan Nachmias replaced Josue Sa who was stretched out while Matan Baltaxa replaced Ofir Davidzada at left-back.
Krstajic made another double change on 71 as Gabi Kanichowsky replaced Rikan and Brandley Kuwas replaced Perica. In the 79th minute, Maccabi should have taken the lead after Jovanovic took off Kuwas who only had Amos to beat but missed his shot wide of the target. Oscar Gloukh replaced Glazer immediately afterwards as Krstajic made his fifth and final substitution in the 80th minute.
The young midfielder could have scored the game three minutes later as Netanya’s defense cleared a corner kick that landed on his feet, but the shot went high and wide.
In the 87th minute however, Maccabi regained their lead at the end of a perfect counter-attack which saw Gloukh his second senior goal. Kuwas charged down the right flank before releasing Geraldes whose square ball fell on Gloukh, allowing the youngster to control the ball and fire past Amos to make it 2-1.