Beitar beats Atletico in friendly upset

Buzaglo brace lifts host Jerusalem over Griezmann, Madrid to delight of Teddy Stadium faithful.

By JOSHUA HALICKMAN
May 21, 2019 22:40
2 minute read.
BEITAR JERUSALEM midfielder Yossi Benayoun (left) shoots past Atletico Madrid’ Thomas Lemar during l

BEITAR JERUSALEM midfielder Yossi Benayoun (left) shoots past Atletico Madrid’ Thomas Lemar during last night’s friendly between the clubs at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem, where Beitar notched a surprising 2-1 victory.. (photo credit: DANNY MARON)

 
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Beitar Jerusalem hosted Spanish giant Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night for a friendly at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem and the hosts took a 2-1 win thanks to a Maor Buzaglo brace.

A crowd of close to 30,000 fans of both squads came for an evening of soccer and fun as everyone involved with the exhibition game celebrated throughout the contest.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone started a mixed lineup of veterans and youngsters, but made sure to bring on the French star Antoine Griezmann in the second half for his final appearance for the La Liga outfit.

Beitar coach Nir Klinger countered with his strongest lineup, plus the recently retired Yossi Benayoun who graced Teddy Stadium one more time.

Jerusalem went on the attack in the opening minutes, but Antoine Conte and David Keltjens’s chances went awry. However, Buzaglo didn’t miss his opportunity to score on the grand stage and slammed home a gorgeous Keltjens cross in the 14th minute to beat the Atletico ’keeper Adan to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.

Thomas attempted to find the equalizer via a pair of free kicks, but came up short as Beitar goalkeeper Itamar Nitzan came up big with timely stops.

Following an ankle injury to Diego Costa, Atletico turned up the heat with chances by Vitolo and Koke, but Beitar was able to quell the threat.

In the 40th minute Thomas laced a laser towards the Beitar ’keeper, but Nitzan was again up to the task. Just before the break, Thomas teamed up with Koke and Alvaro Morata, however the ball just skipped through the box as the sides headed into halftime with Beitar clinging to a 1-0 advantage.

Griezmann was introduced to a round of applause when he entered the game at the start of the second half and kick-started the Atletico offense as Montero just missed the post with a sharp header.

However, it didn’t take Griezmann long to find the equalizer as he put home a penalty in the 49th minute after a reckless tackle by Beitar defender Tal Ben Haim.

But as Atletico continued to apply pressure, Gadi Kinda and Buzgalo went almost the length of the pitch on a counterattack, with the latter slotting home a beauty of a strike to give the yellow-and-black a 2-1 lead in the 59th minute.

Immediately following the goal, both sides made wholesale changes including the introduction of ’keeper Dudu Goresh, who retired after the game.

Gadi Kinda came in off the right side, but his cross was sent out by an Atletico defender while Yakov Brihen’s scorcher went out in the 67th minute.

Goresh made the save off a Griezmann free kick to the delight of the crowd while both sides continued to show quality at either end of the pitch. The squads continued to bring on substitutes as the game wound down as Beitar wrapped up the upset victory.

“There is no question that Beitar played well on the attach and the results showed on the field,” said Simeone.

Naturally, Klinger was elated with his team's performance and the result.

“Tonight was an amazing evening and  lot of fun for both the club and the fans,” said the Beitar coach after the contest.

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