Bnei Yehuda, Maccabi TA draw 0-0

Both sides squander chances; Tel Aviv denied opportunity to stand alone in first place.

Moti Ivanir 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Moti Ivanir 311
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv settled for a 0-0 draw against Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium on Monday night, remaining in second place in the Premier League standings, tied on 20 points with arch-rival Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Maccabi created better chances in the first half, but it failed to convert any of them and was happy to go home with a single point after defender Roberto Puncec was sent off in the 56th minute.
“We played well tonight, apart from the fact that we failed to score goals,” Maccabi coach Moti Ivanir said.
“We played good soccer and controlled the match and undoubtedly the sending off changed the momentum and gave Bnei Yehuda the advantage. At the end of the day, I’m happy we took a point.”
Bnei Yehuda coach Yossi Abuksis was slightly disappointed at not claiming a win.
“I would have been happy to settle for a point before the match, but I’m slightly frustrated now,” Abuksis admitted.
Bnei Yehuda held its own from the start of the match, with Dino Ndlovu squandering the first good opportunity of the night in the ninth minute, fluffing his free header from five meters out.
Maccabi striker Roberto Colautti could have also done better with his header in the 20th minute, but he at least forced ’keeper Dele Aiyenugba to a save, with the Nigerian also denying a free kick from former Bnei Yehuda star Eliran Atar four minutes later.
Tel Aviv’s best chance of the match arrived one minute from the break when Colautti found himself with time and space and just Aiyenugba to beat, but could only send his shot straight at the Nigerian international.
Dor Micha failed to capitalize on a golden opportunity to give Maccabi the breakthrough three minutes into the second half when he had the goal at his mercy but fired right at Aiyenugba.
The match turned on its head in the 56th minute when Puncec was shown a straight red card after referee Meir Levy harshly decided that the Croatian denied Shalev Menashe a clear scoring opportunity when he pulled him down outside the box.
Tel Aviv was happy to settle for a point after that, and it had little trouble holding out for a draw, with Bnei Yehuda failing to translate its possession into chances.