Maccabi Tel Aviv's Eran Zahavi 370.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv continued its march towards defending its Premier League title
on Monday, crushing Bnei Sakhnin 4-1 at Bloomfield Stadium to open a five-point
gap at the top of the standings.
The yellow-and-blue smothered the
previously unbeaten Sakhnin from the first whistle and could have won by a far
greater margin had its players been more composed in front of
Nevertheless, Maccabi will be more than happy with recording its
sixth win in seven league matches, even though it conceded its first goal of the
Once more Eran Zahavi was the star of the show for Maccabi,
scoring twice within the first 17 minutes to all but secure the win.
glad we played well and won so convincingly after losing to Eintracht Frankfurt
in the Europa League,” said Zahavi, who took his tally for the season to five
goals. “We need to continue to focus on our own play and not look at any other
team. There is still a long way to go in the league, but if we continue to work
hard we will be fine.”
Sakhnin registered the first shot on target after
less than two minutes, with Cristian Hidalgo testing Maccabi ‘keeper Juan Pablo
from long range.
However, it wouldn’t be long before the yellow-and-blue
seized complete control, with a Dedi Ben-Dayan goal-line clearance the only
thing standing between Zahavi and the opener a minute
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Nevertheless, the midfielder would break the deadlock soon after,
giving the hosts the lead with a quick turn in the box in the fourth minute
after some good build-up play by Mane.
Zahavi doubled the advantage in
the 17th minute with a clever free kick that caught Mahmud Kandil off
Tel Aviv had many more chances to score before Nikola Mitrovic
made it 3-0 four minutes from the interval.
The Serbian midfielder
released an unstoppable rocket from 25 meters out that left Kandil with no
The only blemish for Maccabi on an otherwise perfect night was
Hamad Ganayem’s goal in the 45th minute.
Maccabi completed 585 minutes
from the start of the season without conceding a goal to move into second-place
all time ahead of the 1998/99 Hapoel Haifa side.
However, Ganayem’s goal,
which was mainly the result of a slip by Tel Aviv’s usually reliable defender
Eitan Tibi, meant that Maccabi can no longer break Hapoel Yahud’s record from
the 1981/82 season when it only conceded its first goal of the season in its
eighth match of the campaign.
But Maccabi didn’t seem too concerned at
finally allowing a goal, with Munas Dabbur scoring the fourth goal in the 52nd
minute to cap another emphatic performance.
“Maccabi was in complete
control and did whatever it pleased,” said Sakhnin coach Marco Balbul. “Maccabi
is head and shoulders above the rest of the league.”
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