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Teddy Stadium was packed to the rafters on Tuesday night as Betar Jerusalem took on Russian giants Dynamo Moscow in a friendly game which raised an estimated NIS 200,000 for the children's ward at Hadassah-University Hospital at Ein Kerem.
The match, which ended in a 1-0 defeat for the Jerusalem side, began in a festive atmosphere. Israeli star singer Sarit Hadad belted out many of her hits before introducing Betar owner Arkadi Gaydamak to the 19,000 crowd.
The large attendance had much to do with the cheap price of tickets as well as the fact that Gaydamak had organized for some 6,000 youngsters and Russian immigrants to be bused in to the capital for the game at his own expense.
The match itself was a less than inspiring affair, with neither side creating many opportunities in a drab first half.
Betar's second-string goalkeeper Guy Soloman was one of the best players on the pitch, making a number of crucial saves against Moscow striker Dimitri Bolokin.
Newly signed midfielder Fabrice Fernandes also performed well but it was the Russian side which looked the sharper in the first period, which ended goalless.
The second half began in the same manner as the first, with neither team looking likely to score. But in the 72nd minute a mistake by Gal Alberman let Igor Samshov in for the Russians, who scored with a delicate chip over substitute goalkeeper Itzik Kornfein.
The introduction of skillful Spanish striker David Aganzo, who has already become a favourite of the Teddy crowd, failed to inspire the yellow-and-black, and Betar fell to its third consecutive defeat in three home games.
Following the game, Gaydamak said the high attendance shows that "the Israelis want to see the football."
He added: "It was a friendly game from all points of view. We are already working with the hospital and it is something we should help, especially the children's department."
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