Maccabi held Be’ersheva to a 1-1 draw
Boosted by the 3-1 away win over Maccabi Haifa last week, Maccabi returned to Bloomfield Stadium for the final home game of the season against Hapoel Be’ersheva. While Maccabi recorded back-to-back wins over Maccabi Netanya (2-1) and Maccabi Haifa (3-1), Be’ersheva suffered rebound losses to Maccabi Netanya (3-0), Maccabi Haifa (1-0) and Hapoel. Tel Aviv (2-1). As a result, Maccabi moved within a point of Beersheva and could bolster their claim to finish second if they win – with two matches still to play.
Maccabi’s Krstajic made several changes from the team that won at Sammy Ofer as he kept his defense unchanged with Enric Saborit and Idan Nachmias lined up just ahead of goalkeeper Daniel Peretz with Andre Gerlades and Matan Baltaxa completing the back- four right and left respectively.
Dan Glazer, who served his one-game sideline ban against Haifa, returned to the side and led the team with the captain’s armband. Eyal Golasa kept his place in midfield while Oscar Gloukh who scored against Netanya and Haifa returned to midfield at the expense of Eden Shamir. Eylon Almog and Brandley Kuwas retained their places and were appointed by Krstajic on both wings to support Croatian striker Stipe Perica in attack.
Daniel Tenenbaum, Tal Ben Chaim, Gabi Kanichowsky, Eden Shamir, Avi Rikan, Ofir Davidzada, Shahar Piven, Orel Baye and Djordje Jovanovic have all been named on the substitute bench.
Before kick-off, a ceremony was held to honor former player Aaron Schoenfeld who scored 10 goals in 76 Maccabi appearances between 2017 and 2021.
Maccabi started the game on the front foot as Eyal Golasa tested Omri Glazer 90 seconds into the game with a low drive from the edge of the box equalized by the Be’ersheva keeper. Two minutes later, a counter-attack from Matan Baltaxa took the visitors’ defense by surprise, but as Brandley Kuwas squandered the chance the effort was ruled out for offside. Nikita Rukavytsya was inches away from heading Be’ersheva in the lead at the far end as his close-range header narrowly missed the target. In the 15th minute however, Rukavytsya received a direct red card from referee Gal Leibovic for a reckless tackle on Baltaxa. Be’ersheva was left with 10 men while Mladen Krstajic was forced to make a substitution as Baltaxa limped off with a calf injury and was replaced by Shahar Piven. In the 24th minute, Eyal Golasa beat two Be’ersheva players at the edge of the area before giving Enric Saborit a tee shot whose left-footed shot went over the crossbar.
Saborit continued to pause a threat down the left flank as his telling cross to Stipe Perica rolled into the face of Be’ersheva’s goal, the Croatian striker failing to make contact. A minute later, Saborit hit a shot with his weak right foot that deflected off a defender before Glazer recovered.
Three minutes into the half hour mark, Glazer needed a double save to prevent Perica’s powerful shot from outside the box.
Two minutes later, Golasa found Oscar Gloukh inside the box with a smart shot, but the youngster’s shot was equalized by Glazer.
Kuwas tried his luck in the 43rd minute but his left footed shot which Glazer could only deny. A goal-mouth scramble in injury time saw Perica denied by the Be’ersheva defense before Idan Nachmias’ effort was cleared for a corner. The stalemate was finally broken soon after as Kuwas rolled in the resulting corner and Eylon Almog rose high to take the lead in the opener and put Maccabi in front.
While Krstajic made no changes after the break, his Be’ersheva counterpart Elyaniv Barda made a double change as Sagiv Yehezkel and Danilo Asprilla replaced Ramzi Safuri and Eugene Ansah on the restart.
Maccabi nearly doubled their lead three minutes later when Gloukh found Saborit inside the box only for the Spaniard to send his volley over the crossbar. Andre Geraldes, who hasn’t scored a goal in 3 years at Maccabi, almost scored his first goal out of 52 but the Portugeuse volleyed past the post.
Krstajic made three changes on the hour mark introducing Avi Rikan for Kuwas, Tal Ben Chaim replaced Almog and Djordje Jovanovic replaced Perica.
Golasa received a standing ovation from the majority of the 14,762 fans as he was replaced by Gabi Kanichowsky on 72 for Maccabi’s final replacement. Jovanovic looked sharp as the Serbian striker curled his shot which narrowly missed the target. But in the 75th minute, Be’ersheva was level again as Miguel Vitor headed past a corner that beat Daniel Peretz to make it 1-1.
In the 80th minute, three of Maccabi’s substitutes combined well to carve an opening as Jovanovic released Kanichowsky whose cut was fired by Rikan wide of the post. Nachmias should have scored Maccabi’s second from 81 but the center who found himself just in front of goal, lost his footing and failed to connect.