Soccer: Netanya defeats Monchengladbach in friendly for peace
The final score was 1-0 for the Israeli team, with a late 86th minute goal from lucky substitute Dele Yampolsky.
By LEO DAVIDSON
Maccabi Netanya defeated Borussia Monchengladbach in a friendly match played under the banner of "Goals for Peace" in Herzliya on Sunday night.
The final score was 1-0 for the Israeli team, with a late 86th minute goal from lucky substitute Dele Yampolsky, who was left for an open goal after a blunder from Borussia 'keeper Frederick Lohe.
Maccabi coach Lothar Matthaus expressed his hope that in the future there will be "more peace than there were goals."
"I would have preferred 4-4, 5-5 or 6-6, but at least after a long time we have a win for Maccabi Netanya," he told reporters after the game, which was played in front of some 4,500 fans.
Netanya is in second place in the Israeli Premier League but has drawn its last three games.
The 47-year-old Matthaus, who won 150 caps for Germany and played for Monchengladbach early in his career, was listed as a substitute for Netanya but did not make it on to the pitch during the game.
Matthaus's sentiments seemed to be shared by the players, who were so reluctant to see the game end goalless that both starting goalkeepers found themselves fending off potential own goals.
Netanya's number one Liran Strauber just managed to tip a deflection from defender Bevan Fransman which had been heading into the top corner of the goal towards the end of the first half.
And Lohe was forced to catch a misjudged backpass from one of his defenders at the start of the second period.
The deadlock was finally broken just a few minutes before the final whistle when Yampolsky was surprised to see Lohe fumble the ball and dashed forward to slot the ball home inside the area.
The match lived up to his billing as a friendly game with few fouls, let alone bookings from either team, and a convivial atmosphere both on the pitch and in the stands.
This was especially true with regards to Borussia's two Israeli international's, Gal Alberman and Roberto Colautti, who played a full 90 minutes for the German team which is currently rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga 1 after a 2-1 defeat at Borussia Dortmund on Friday.
All proceeds from the game were donated to the Peres Center for Peace which runs a twinned soccer schools program for Israeli and Palestinian youngsters, 1,000 of whom were given free tickets to the game.
The game was preceded by a reception at the Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv attended by the German Ambassador Harald Kindermann and President of the German Football Association Dr. Theo Zwanziger.
Speeches in English, Hebrew and German affirmed the significance of the game for German-Israeli relations.
"Football is bringing people together," said Ambassador Kindermann. "We have already started to build a bridge."
The German delegation visited Yad Vashem earlier on Sunday and on Tuesday will meet young participants of the Peres Center for Peace's "Twinned Peace Football School" program in Merhavim.
The DFB delegation will meet 120 children from the Palestinian community of Abu Tor and the Israeli community of Merhavim who participate in this extra-curricular football and peacebuilding activity.
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