The season's first Tel Aviv derby ended in a dramatic 1-1 draw, including two sending offs and a missed penalty kick.
Around 4,000 fans at Bloomfield Stadium were on hand as Bnei Yehuda coach Nitzan Shirazi fielded a defensive and physical lineup in order to try and contain Yitzhak Schum's Hapoel Tel Aviv, which was coming off a UEFA Cup victory last week.
"I'm a little disappointed, but given our poor form, it's a good result for us," Shirazi summarized after the draw. "This not the Bnei Yehuda I would like to see, but we will keep improving as the season advances."
"Bnei Yehuda gave a great fight," Schum told reporters. "We are improving, but there is more hard work to be done. I'm happy our substitutions are working, but there will be times like this when they don't work out completely."
After a weak start by both teams, Tel Aviv captain Yossi Abuksis showed great vision and dispatched forward Elyaniv Barda into space. Barda used his pace to slip past the Bnei Yehuda rearguard, but was brought down by goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
Referee Asaf Keinan pointed towards the penalty spot, giving Tel Aviv a chance to take the lead in the 25th minute. But Argentinian forward Luciano De Bruno stepped up and sent in a weak shot which was easily fisted away by Enyeama.
Hapoel Tel Aviv continued to enjoy possession, but accurate attacks were scarce and Bnei Yehuda stunned the Reds in the last minute of the first half.
Hervoje Kovacevic received the ball after Tel Aviv's defense failed to clear the ball, spun around his marker and let fly from long range. Tel Aviv goalkeeper Shavit Elimelech was caught out of position and the ball landed in the back of the net, giving the oranges the advantage.
Schum repeated his move from last week's UEFA Cup fixture against Domzale and inserted Baruch Dego and Ibazito Ogabuna at the start of the second half, which turned out to be a correct decision again.
Barda led a swift raid and found Ogabuna on the right flank, who showed remarkable accuracy and crossed the ball towards Dego, who was lurking unmarked in the penalty area. Dego steadied himself and fired a crisp volley into the goal to even the score in the 57th minute.
Both teams were left with ten men in the 78th minute, after Tal Chen and Yair Azulai pushed and cursed each other.
The remaining minutes of the game were played cautiously, with few chances in front of the goals.
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