Maccabi TA showing no sign of slowing down

Despite conceding first goal of the season, Yellow-and-blue trounce Sakhnin 4-1.

Maccabi Tel Aviv's Eran Zahavi  370 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
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 goal.
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 campaign.
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.
“I’m 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 later.
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 guard.
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 chance.
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.”