A resurgent Modi’in held on for a scrappy draw as a frustrated Ra’anana let a 3-0 half-time lead slip away.
League leaders Ra’anana remain four points clear at the half way point in the season but were left wondering how costly this draw will be. Despite remaining unbeaten this season Ra’anana will feel this was a case of 2 points dropped rather than a point gained.
The league leaders started positively despite taking 10 minutes or so to settle. With top goalscorer Aviad Ben Meir always a menace upfront Ra’anana eventually forced a corner, Modiin failed to clear and Hillel Bloch was on hand to force the ball over the line.
This settled Ra’anana’s and they started to spread the ball, Hanani Corney combined well with Josh Lipman creating pressuring play down the left and started to really test the Modiin defense. The increased pressure paid off when Aviad pressured the Modi’in defense nicking the ball and breaking for goal to slot home Ra’anana’s second. Playing now fluid football, Aviad added Ra’anana’s third five minutes before the break a sublime pass from Eitan Aarsonson saw him break clear taking a decisive slice across the keeper.
Complacency set it as Modi’in came out for the second half fighting. Ra’anana fell asleep allowing modi’in with their first three shots on goal to regain a foothold in the match. Decisive in taking their chances Matan Krozier, Omri Encauou scored within the first 10 minutes, Ra’anana regained some composure but when Itay Saidoff broke after a ra;ananan a corner modiin equalised setting up a nail biting last 20.
Ra’anana spent the last 15 minutes camped in the Modi’in box forcing over 10 corners, Iliya Kovalov proved to be a impregnable force between the sticks for Modi’in and was the only thing keeping Ra’anana from three points. The highlights of his efforts a one handed power save from an Aviad belter as well as some how managing to keep hold of the ball in a goal mouth ping pong scramble.
Ra’anana were further denied when Zee’ev Landsman was deemed to have handled as he finished off a one on one with the keeper. Ra’anana were left frustrated the despite dominating for all but 20 minutes they walked away with only one point.
Jamie Lazarus Modiin manager said: “We caught Ra’ananna cold after the break with two goals and that gave us confidence, we were decisive in taking our chances and defended well.”
Ra’anana co-manager Avi Wiesenberg said: “This feels like two points dropped tonight but we remain unbeaten and are happy with the position we are in going into the second half of the season, it will always be tougher now being the team that everyone wants to be beat and we will need to continue to improve. There is a great belief in the team at the moment and an unbelievable desire to win so we took this result harder then we probably should.”
Rainball 1 Inter Teal Aviv 4
This was the first ever meeting between these two sides, with both teams joining the league at the start of the season. Rainball were still looking for their first point of the campaign prior to the game, while Inter have had a decent first half of the season.
Inter characteristically started shaky and it was the home side who took the lead inside the first ten minutes, with Noam Siluk firing home to give Rainball the lead, after being put through behind the Inter defence.
However, the lead was short-lived as Dani Markovitz grabbed the equaliser and his first goal of the season, when he reacted quickest to Mike Langer’s parried shot.
The away side went into the half time break ahead when Craig Smitheram executed a delightful one two with outstanding Gav Hill before slotting past the Rainball keeper.
Inter’s manager, Jerome Katz, then brought himself on for the second half for his first appearance of the season and his impact was simply sensational. The Swiss forward picked up the ball just inside the Rainball half with only his first touch, danced past three defenders, before firing a 40-yard thunderbolt that lobbed the goalie.
With a two-goal deficit so early in the second half the Rainball threat somewhat diminished and Inter extended their lead even further when Katz sent through Robertinho Lima who accurately got his first goal for the club.
The game’s tempo dropped dramatically in the last twenty minutes, but Rainball continued to search for a consolation. However, the Inter defence held firm with the likes of Ariel Benzaquen and Brian Goldfarb putting in solid displays at the back.
The win sees Inter in joint second position, just four points behind leaders Ra’anana.
Jaffa 4 Athletico 3
With only one point between them in the table before the game this was always going to be a close one. This last game of the first round was to determine which of these teams were title contenders.
The first half was fairly even, both sides missed chances until Majit Zaid scored the first for Athletico just before the break.
The Jaffa half-time team talk was full of hairdriers and it seemed to pay off. Daniel Berkeley hit a left-footed strike from outside the box on the 50th minute to make it 1-1. Athletico quickly replied with a smashing goal from Yonatan Journo, a 30-yarder, the goalie Itai Koma (who was other wise superb on the night) had no chance. Jaffa fought back and won a penalty that Nir Hacohen buried- 2-2. Ten minutes later, when Jaffa were totally in control and seeking their third, an outbreak attack from the Jerusalemites lead to a rair defensive slip-up by Jaffa- 3-2 from which Yonatan Journo capitalised.
Anyone say Jaffa never give up this season? A wonderful team move with six one-touch passes led to a fabulous Ziv Ram finish- 3-3 with ten minutes to go. The last ten minutes were tense, Athletico were doing everything to hang on and Jaffa didn’t want to lose points at home. The high nerves caused a moment of controversy when after a rough tackle and bad reaction – both Eyal Hoffman (Jaffa) and an Athletico player were sent-off.
Just as the points were about to be shared, the oranges of Jaffa did what they have done twice already this season- grab a last minute winner in Fergies-United fashion. It was the classy rookie, Rotem Elkalay who banged home the winner.
Jaffa are now unbeaten in last 4 matches (winning three of them), watch out Ra’anana!