|Photo by: Maccabi Tel Aviv website|
Cruyff brought in to turn around Mac TA
By ALLON SINAI
New sporting director watches yellow-and-blue draw at Ashdod; K8 dominated in Sakhnin.
Maccabi Tel Aviv will introduce Jordi Cruyff as its new sporting director on
Sunday after the former Dutch international saw first hand on Saturday the
magnitude of the task he faces with the yellow-and-blue next
Maccabi continued a depressing campaign with a 1-1 draw against
10-man Ashdod SC, missing a chance to make up lost ground in the battle for
Rodgers Kola gave Ashdod the lead in the 18th
minute after another defensive mistake by Maccabi, before Munas Dabbur equalized
seven minutes from the break.
Ofer Verta left the hosts with 10-men 10
minutes from time, but it was Ashdod which came closer to taking all three
points, with Kola having a goal correctly disallowed for offside in the third
minute of stoppage time.
“I am honored by the interest and the confidence
shown to me by the club,” said Cruyff, 38, son of former Dutch great
“Maccabi is a special club with a great tradition and I am
convinced that with hard work and the right decisions we will develop something
that the club and the fans will all be proud of.”
United and Barcelona forward will be joining Maccabi from Cypriot club AEK
Larnaca where he has worked over the past two years, helping the club become the
first Cypriot side to reach the Europa League group stages.
first task will be to name a new coach, with caretaker Nir Levine guiding the
side since Moti Ivanir was sacked in December.
Ran Ben-Shimon is the
current favorite to take charge of the team for next season after guiding Ironi
Kiryat Shmona to a stunning championship, but falling out with owner Izzy
Sheratzky following his refusal to sign a contract extension.
Shmona’s first match since clinching the championship was a humbling experience
on Saturday, with the northerners being trounced 5-0 at Bnei
Kostadin Hazurov (2, 66), Maharan Radi (47, 80) and Ohad Kadusi
(86) scored for Sakhnin, which severely punished Kiryat Shmona for a lax
Sakhnin moved up to fifth with the win and is just three
points behind Maccabi Netanya, which climbed to second place with a 1-0 victory
over Maccabi Haifa.
Hen Ezra scored the only goal of the match in the
79th minute, giving Netanya its fifth win in six matches.
dropped to fourth with the loss, while Hapoel Tel Aviv fell one place to third
after drawing 3-3 with Bnei Yehuda in front of empty stands at Bloomfield
Bnei Yehuda seemed to be cruising to a memorable win, holding a
3-1 lead with 10 minutes to play thanks to goals from Dino Ndlovo (11), Nenad
Marinkovic (34) and Oz Raly (61), which looked to have rendered Shay Abutbul’s
accurate free kick in the 45th minute as meaningless.
Cohen (81) and Salim Toama (83) ensured Tel Aviv salvaged a point to keep the
battle for a Europa League berth extremely tight.
Hapoel Haifa moved
eight points clear of the relegation zone on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Hapoel
Rishon Lezion courtesy of goals from Ran Abukarat (63) and Yuval Avidor
However, Haifa could be dragged back into the relegation battle by
the Israel Football Association’s High Court on Sunday, with Maccabi Petah
Tikva’s appeal against its three-point deduction to be heard at IFA headquarters
in Ramat Gan.
Petah Tikva also has a game in hand, hosting 13th-placed
Hapoel Beersheba on Monday.
Betar Jerusalem hosts Hapoel Acre on Sunday,
going for a sixth-straight win which will take it tied on points with Hapoel
Ramat Hasharon in ninth place.
Ramat Hasharon beat Hapoel Petah Tikva 2-1
on Saturday with goals from Ben Ben-Shushan (78) and Baruch Dego (82) canceling
out Or Fishbein’s (63) opener.