Derby delight for Maccabi as it crushes Hapoel

Yellow-and-blue outclass Reds for resounding 4-0 win to reopen 8-point gap.

Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer victorious 370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer victorious 370
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Tel Aviv reestablished an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League standings in unforgettable manner on Monday night, thrashing arch-rival Hapoel Tel Aviv 4-0 at Bloomfield Stadium.
Maccabi was ruthless from the first whistle, scoring twice in each half to claim a memorable victory that handed Hapoel’s title hopes what is surely a near-fatal blow.
The yellow-and-blue now leads third-placed Hapoel by 11 points, with the Reds losing their past four matches by a combined goal difference of 0-12.
There was plenty of criticism leveled at Maccabi coach Oscar Garcia after his side’s cautious game-plan saw it drop to a 1-0 loss in the first derby match of the season.
However, Oscar’s men ran riot on Monday, steamrolling a helpless Hapoel team with a champion’s performance.
“This is a big win, a very important victory against a good team,” said Oscar, whose team won for the 10th time in 11 home games this season, improving its goal difference over the past six triumphs to 25-3.
“Nevertheless, Hapoel is still not out of the title race. We must build on this performance.”
Maccabi looked to dominate the proceedings from the start and it wasn’t long before the Reds found themselves on the ropes.
Rade Prica almost broke the deadlock with a delightful bicycle kick in the eighth minute, but keeper Apoula Edel’s well-timed dive kept Maccabi at bay, at least for a few more minutes The yellow-and-blue pressured Hapoel deep into its own half and the breakthrough would arrive courtesy of one of many Reds turnovers.
Eran Zahavi, playing for the first time against his former team, squared the ball from the right flank and Prica’s clinical finish in the 14th minute gave Edel no chance.
Hapoel barely broke out of its own half in the subsequent minutes, but Maccabi’s wastefulness meant it had to wait until the 43rd minute to finally double its lead.
Maharan Radi had time and space and his accurate cross was thumped into the back of the net by an Eliran Atar header.
Atar should have scored his second of the night two minutes into the second half, blasting over the crossbar from close range.
But his miss would be of little consequence.
He would net his 20th goal of the season from the penalty spot in the 75th minute after Prica was brought down in the box by Edel and Radi completed the rout three minutes later from another Zahavi assist, capping a night that will live long in the memory of every yellow-andblue fan.