Aviv City regained the Olim Cup on Saturday night in a mouthwatering clash with Jerusalem at Nes Siyona training ground.
The third-place play-off took place in the build-up to the final, with Bambi and England playing out a 2-1 encounter, England won and claimed another piece of silverware but as they left the field and the finalists started warming up you could feel the tension and disappointment in the air.
In the semi-final earlier in the week, debutant Josh King of Aviv City scored three goals and set up one to put England out of the competition. It was hard to not focus on him leading up to the final.
The 6 foot 4 striker who has played and scored at the highest level in Israeli football was certainly the man to watch and Jerusalem’s manager Danny Newman was going to have to rally his troops together and come up with a good strategy in order for Jerusalem to retain the cup.
Uri Schneider, manager of Aviv looked very confident ahead of the encounter. With Peter Emola and Josh King up front, he knew that he had perhaps the best striking partnership at this level and if he could get them the ball, he was almost certain of victory. Jerusalem started the game a lot more brightly with several attacks and their young full-back Danny Sigal was in the form of his life as he bullied Josh King out of every encounter.
The rare saves that Daniel Boerstra had to make in the Jerusalem goal combined with the experience of the likes of Dan Kosky, Yoel Finches and Eli Warner appeared to be edging the game for Jerusalem. Just before half-time, Akiva Zniemer scored an excellent free-kick. Of Jerusalem’s younger attacking players, Akiva really stood out, as Amit, Daniel Cohen and Moishe Lewis were failing to make an impact on the game. Zac Lewis who is arguably the most gifted Jerusalem player was excellent on the ball but also not involved enough. Aviv had enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but were Jerusalem on the way to a shock 1-0 victory?
Half-time and 1-0 to Jerusalem. Jerusalem now had to deal with injuries to Yoel Finches and Solomon and Aviv who are known to be a second half team came out and destroyed Jerusalem. Aviv City’s central midfield pairing of Yaya and Jonathan had been excellent earlier that week in their 5-3 semi-final win over England and they proved to be the factor that swung the game in Aviv’s favour with their constant tackles, headers and quick passes.
Aviv equalised on the 61st minute with a great shot from Jonathan and then sealed their victories with two close-range efforts through man-of-the-moment Josh King (67 minutes) and Peter Emola (81st minute). Aviv City’s defenders had breezed through the half with only really Akiva Zneimer to deal with and Rob Bradman in the Aviv goal dealt expertly with any real Jerusalem threats.
Full-time and the champagne bottles, medals and trophy were handed to Aviv’s manager Uri Schneider. Yaya received the Man-of-the-match award and Jerusalem had a long drive home having been outclassed in the second half.
A massive thank you must go to Teamsnap for sponsoring this competition and setting the tempo and atmosphere for a truly memorable event!