Maccabi Tel Aviv beats Hapoel TA in first league derby

Maccabi TA set a few records straight Sunday night.

Maccabi Tel-Aviv set a few records straight Sunday night with a 2-0 victory against their fiercest rival, Hapoel Tel Aviv. Maccabi maintained its perfect start to the Premier League season, with two wins from two matches, while Hapoel has split its first games of the season. After losing the first derby of the season to Hapoel 3-0, albeit in the Toto Cup, Maccabi was eager to get off to a good start and take revenge for the early season loss. All the talk prior to the game was focused on Maccabi's efforts to move the game from Bloomfield Stadium to the National Stadium in Ramat Gan. Maccabi was hoping to take full advantage of the huge interest in the game and make extra money by moving the game to the larger-capacity stadium. The move was initially approved by an Israel Football Association panel, which was later overturned by a different IFA panel. Although Maccabi may have lost extra income, it will surely admit that the special Bloomfield atmosphere created by thousands of their fans was a key factor in the team's success taking control of the game and scoring right from the kickoff. With just over a minute played Maccabi was gifted the opener. A cross from the right by Croatian Giovanni Rosso was met by Hapoel defender Rami Halis, who attempted to head the ball back to his goalkeeper but instead sent it into the net. Hapoel was stunned by conceding the early goal and rarely managed to threaten the Maccabi goal in the first half. Its only real chance came in the 20th minute when former Maccabi star Baruch Dego shot from 10 meters out high above the Maccabi goal. In the 40th minute Maccabi star Avi Nimni had a chance to put the game beyond Hapoel's reach. With only the 'keeper to beat, Nimni headed wide from five meters out, wasting Rosso's accurate cross. With the halftime talk by coach Dror Kashtan clearly affecting Hapoel, the reds began the second half with the urgency they lacked in the first. But for all their possession the team couldn't manage to create any chances. In the 75th minute Hapoel almost got an equalizer. Hapoel defender Asi Domb towered over Maccabi 'keeper Liran Strauber and headed the ball just wide of the post. Hapoel would rue its missed opportunity when four minutes later Nimni put the game beyond doubt. The Maccabi captain blasted a left-foot volley from 10 meters out into Hapoel's net that gave goalkeeper Shavit Elimelech no chance. Maccabi coach Nir Klinger has now won four straight derby matches against a Hapoel side led by coach Dror Kashtan. Matchday 2 will be wrapped up Monday night when reigning league champ Maccabi Haifa hosts Maccabi Petah Tikva at Kiryat Eliezer.