(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Tel Aviv battled to a 1-1 draw in an intense derby
showdown at Bloomfield Stadium on Sunday night, a result which mainly benefits
leagueleader Maccabi Haifa.
Hapoel was the better team in the first half
and took the lead through Walid Badier in the 30th minute. However,
Dimitar Rangelov equalized for the hosts three minutes into the second half to
ensure the spoils were shared.
Maccabi fans left the stadium pleased with
the point, but the draw extends the team’s winless streak in derby clashes to
eight matches, with the yellow-and-blue losing five and drawing three of its
league encounters with its arch-rival since its last win, in March
The draw leaves Haifa at the top of the standings, two points ahead
of Hapoel, with Maccabi a further four points back.
There were more fouls
than chances in a tight and nervy start to the match.
Hapoel could have
made an early breakthrough in the eighth minute, but Eran Zahavi made a mess of
Five minutes later, Haris Medunjanin put through Rangelov,
but Maccabi’s Bulgarian striker took far too long on the ball, allowing the
Hapoel defense to clear the danger.
As the match progressed, Hapoel began
to come out of its shell, and with Maccabi almost frozen by the occasion, it was
only a matter of time until the visitors would score the opener.
29th minute, Savo Pavicevic’s defensive blunder left Hapoel’s Gili Vermut with
only goalkeeper Liran Strauber to beat, but the midfield magician gave himself
too much work to do after rounding the stopper and Maccabi was
However, less than a minute later the Reds would take the
After some excellent build up play on the left flank, Zahavi
crossed the ball into the box and veteran defender Badier was perfectly placed
to head in the opener.
Eliran Atar squandered Maccabi’s best chance to
equalize in the first half four minutes from the break, shooting straight at
‘keeper Vincent Enyeama despite having all the time in the world to pick his
Hapoel took a deserved lead into the interval, but the hosts began
the second half with the urgency they so desperately lacked before Moti Ivanir’s
halftime talk and the equalizer soon arrived.
Maor Buzaglo sliced the
defense with his pass and Rangelov tucked the ball in to the delight of the
previously despondent yellow-and-blue faithful.
It took Hapoel almost 20
minutes to recover from conceding the equalizer, while Maccabi seemed more than
content on sitting back and soaking up the pressure in the rainy
Maccabi’s tactics worked for much of the time, but in the 67th
minute it was fortunate not to concede, with Ben Sahar’s shot going centimeters
wide of the upright.
With scoring opportunities at such a premium,
players were trying their luck from all distances and Djibril Sidibe’s attempt
in the 79th minute almost paid off.
The Malian midfielder released a
thunderous shot from 30 meters out, but Enyeama was alert and denied Sidibe what
would have been one of the goals of the season.
Vermut had one superb
chance to decide the match four minutes from time, but his powerful shot from
the edge of the area was saved by Strauber and both teams went home with the
point they deserved.