Olim League: J’lem defeats Ra’anana, advances to Division 1

Fifth-place Jerusalem’s 5-1 road victory over fourth-place Ra’anana ensures progression when the league splits.

In the final week of the open part of the Olim League, the only match that affected the standings was fifth-place Jerusalem’s 5-1 road victory over fourth-place Ra’anana.
As a result, the visitors progressed to Division 1 while Ra’anana will play in Division 2 when the league splits next week.
David Preston fired Jerusalem in front early on after a neat move down the left. But the hosts came right back, and the attacking verve of their young attackers was soon rewarded when Eitan Aaronson capitalized on hesitancy at the edge of the Jerusalem box to plant a drive into the bottom corner.
The goal was a wake-up call for the visitors, who realized they had a fight on their hands.
But they rose to the challenge and found themselves back in front when Ori Kobi showed some sublime control, and although his attempted pass broke back to him, he showed composure in sliding the ball home.
Jerusalem increased its advantage with the pick of the goals on the stroke of half-time.
The ever-alert David Zackon latched onto a long ball over the top, took it over three defenders and finished with aplomb.
The second half was a rather drab affair.
While Jerusalem’s back four of Jonny Hadi, Dan Kosky, David Mocatta and Yoel Finchas were extremely solid in keeping Ra’anana’s young guns at bay, and while Misa Guarneros showed bite in the middle of the pitch, the visitors generally failed to get their passing game going and were wasteful in several possessions.
Nonetheless, Jerusalem put the game out of sight midway through the half.
Substitute Eran Ben-Ari turned his marker and was bundled over in the area, with Zackon converting the ensuing spot kick.
The away side put gloss on the victory in the closing stages, with Eli Warner rewarded for his hard work up front when his deflected effort looped in.
The final score was Jerusalem 5, Raanana 1.
Elsewhere, Modi’in hosted Aviv City last Saturday night in a thrilling encounter.
The game got off to a scrappy start, with neither side being able to assert any control, or muster any goal attempts of note.
After 15 minutes, Aviv City boss Richard Binstock was forced to make an early substitution after Naor Cohen suffered a badly bruised eye, following a seemingly innocuous clash with a Modi’in defender.
Aviv’s luck went from bad to worse after 35 minutes when Alex Green bravely tried to head the ball but was met instead by the knee of Modi’in’s Mark Chass, who had just nicked the ball away from Green’s reach.
Green suffered a suspected broken nose and Aviv, which had only brought one substitute to the game, was left to play out the rest of the match with just 10 men.
Within minutes, Modi’in had made the man advantage count when Sharon Attias strode through the Aviv defense and cracked in a lovely shot from just outside the area to give Modi’in a slender lead to take into the break.
Modi’in started the second half intent on taking full advantage of its extra man and indeed quickly doubled its lead with a Mark Chass headed from a fine Ilan Shmueli corner.
But the 10 men of Aviv City were not going to give up without a fight, and their “never say die” attitude paid dividends when Roy Morik completed a nice move after 75 minutes.
Modi’in was shellshocked and did all it could to prevent Aviv from scoring an equalizer.
But with just two minutes left on the clock, an Aviv City corner was cleared only as far as Navot Ben Asher, who cracked in a lovely volley to send the Aviv fans into raptures.
The Modi’in players looked deflated and one sensed that Aviv could even go on to win the game.
Both teams battled to secure a winner and, at one point, the passion threatened to overflow as a bad Aviv City tackle, coupled with a disappointing Modi’in retaliation, left both teams to play out the closing minutes a man lighter.
Suddenly, with 93 minutes on the clock, this drama-packed match was turned once again on its head, when the ball dropped kindly for Modi’in midfielder Jamie Lazarus on the edge of the box and he coolly slotted home an injury time winner for the home side.
Incredibly, the scoring wasn’t over yet.
Just a minute later, Modi’in restored its twogoal lead through Chaim Finn.
The third match of the night was between the top two, Ashdod and England FC.
England FC was looking to protect an unbeaten run while Ashdod – the league’s top scoring club – was hoping to continue playing its distinctive style of attacking soccer.
The Ashdod forward line looked lively but was controlled by Josh Hantman and Daniel Scott, and most of the play was in the Ashdod half.
Brad Bernstein came close when his header hit the bar and Daniel Scott had a goal ruled out for a foul on the keeper that was hotly disputed.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first, and again the Ashdod stopper was excellent with two oneon- one saves against Yarden Bar Ness and Omer Rosen.
Ashdod managed to hold out and even nearly netted a winner, coming close with a great overhead kick that would have been a serious contender for goal of the season, but the game ended 0-0.