Maccabi Tel Aviv striker Barak Itzhaki scored the only goal of last night’s 1-0 win at Maccabi Petah Tikva in Premier League action..
(photo credit: AVI AVICHAI)
The Lito Vidigal era gets underway on Tuesday with Maccabi Tel Aviv only five points back of Hapoel Beersheba at the summit of the Premier League standings after the yellowand- blue beat Maccabi Petah Tikva 1-0 on Monday with the Angolan watching from the stands.
Barak Itzhaki scored the only goal of the match in the 56th minute, with the yellow-and-blue riding its luck in a first half dominated by Petah Tikva.
Maccabi was guided by sports director Jordi Cruyff for the final time, claiming an eighth win in nine games since he replaced Shota Arveladze over a month ago.
“There are games that you want the team to play well and win and there are other games when you just need the team to fight and to win,” said Cruyff. “I think we were a little bit lucky today to leave with three points but in the end we are five points back of Beersheba.”
Lito was watching from the stands for the first time following his appointment late Friday night. Lito, 47, a former national team player and coach of his native Angola, joins Maccabi from FC Arouca of Portugal where he has been coaching since 2015. Lito, who was handed a deal until the end of 2017/18, began his coaching career in 2004, with his biggest success to date coming at Arouca. He guided the team to promotion to the Portuguese top flight before qualifying for European competition last season with a surprise fifth-place finish.
Petah Tikva’s game-plan worked to perfection in the first half, but its finishing in front of goal kept letting it down. Maccabi goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic was responsible for denying Guy Melamed with a superb save in the 24th minute, but the Petah Tikva forward only had himself to blame for his miss 15 minutes later.
Tel Aviv needed just one chance to find the back of the net. Itzhaki turned on the edge of the box and sent a shot into the bottom left corner which Petah Tikva ‘keeper Danny Amos should have really saved.
The visitors were in control after that, but squandered numerous chances to double the advantage and seal the win. Vidar Orn Kjartansson accounted for several of those misses, but ultimately they proved to be insignificant, with the yellow-and-blue holding on for the three points.