With the Reds’ Nigeria World Cup goalkeeper VINCENT ENYEAMA (right) well off his line, highly-experienced Israel international defender and FC Hapoel Tel Aviv club captain VALEED BADEER heads the ball away from FC Maccabi Tel Aviv striker ELIRAN ATAR, the leading goal-scorer for the Yellows in Ligat ha’Al this season, during the Big Tel Aviv Derby match at the Bloomfield Stadium. (maccabi-tlv.co.il)
The first BIG TEL AVIV DERBY match of the still-relatively New Year of 2011 delivered plenty of intensity and entertainment as any intra-city rivalry is typically wont to do.
Defending champions FC HAPOEL TEL AVIV took a well-deserved first half advantage. But, FC MACCABI TEL AVIV, the most successful side in the history of Israeli football, fought back for an equalizer shortly after the halftime break. A tense finish found the two goalkeepers in fine form and, thus, each side took a point from the 1-1 draw.
Israel international ERAN ZAHAVI, who led FC Hapoel Tel Aviv with five goals during the UEFA Champions League campaign, could have given the Reds a fast start against their bitter rivals. The 22-year-old had scored a spectacular goal earlier this Holiday Season in France with an overhead bicycle kick against Olympique Lyon. The emerging midfielder, however, allowed FC Maccabi Tel Aviv to go unpunished with an off-target volley in the eighth minute.
Zahavi would redeem himself half an hour into the match, though, with an accurate left wing cross into the box for the waiting captain of FC Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Israel international defender YOAV ZIV (14) of FC Maccabi Tel Aviv, back in Ligat ha’Al after a campaign in Belgium with KSC Lokeren, slides tackles the ball away from FC Hapoel Tel Aviv’s talented Israel international midfielder ERAN ZAHAVI during the intra-city derby at the Bloomfield Stadium. (maccabi-tlv.co.il)
Aging 36-year-old VALEED BADEER is just outside the top ten all-time with 74 caps for Israel. The experienced center back, who spent two seasons in England with London club FC Wimbledon several years ago, has notched 12 goals — an impressive number by a defender — for his country, as well. The battle-hardened veteran did not let his team down in the Big Tel Aviv Derby and deposited a free header for a 1-0 FC Hapoel Tel Aviv lead.
The goal marked the captain Badeer’s first for the Reds in Ligat ha’Al this season.
The current title holders continued to press but were prevented from doing further damage by the captain of FC Maccabi Tel Aviv with eight caps for Israel over the course of his long career, 37-year-old goalkeeper LIAN STRAUBER.
The Yellows have not defeated the Reds in the Big Tel Aviv Derby since March of 2008, a fact which FC Maccabi Tel Aviv’s new manager MOTTI IVANIR reminded his team during the halftime talk.
Sufficiently inspired, the 18-time national champion of Israel struck just two minutes after the restart when a sharp pass from youthful Israel international midfielder MAOR BUZAGLO, who leads the Yellows wit seven assists in Ligat ha’Al this term, released Bulgaria international DIMITAR RANGELOV. The striker on loan from German Bundesliga leader Borussia Dortmund has struggled to score goals in the Israeli top flight this term but found a sense of occasion just in time for the great all-Tel Aviv tussle. Having done so, Rangelov dispatched his effort to record just his second goal this season and equalize for FC Maccabi Tel Aviv.
Appropriate enough for the night the late, great Israel international AVI COHEN’s # 5 shirt was forever put away, the game was back on.
Bulgaria international striker DIMITAR RANGELOV signals with delight his equalizing goal for FC Maccabi Tel Aviv while opposing FC Hapoel Tel Aviv striker BEN SAHAR (11) looks away with his hands on his hips shortly into the second half of the Big Tel Aviv Derby at the Bloomfield Stadium. (maccabi-tlv.co.il)
In the 67th minute, FC Hapoel Tel Aviv’s in-form Israel international striker BEN SAHAR only just missed his chance to be a derby match-winner.
Mali international midfielder DJIBRIL SIDIBE, who has scored two goals in Ligat ha’Al for FC Maccabi Tel Aviv this season, had the most dangerous opportunity with a little over ten minutes remaining from time. The 28-year-old midfielder, acquired by the Yellows for a mere 150,000 Euros from French outfit CS Sedan this past summer, unleashed a thunderbolt from about 30 meters out. But Sidibe would not claim derby hero status, either.
Nigeria World Cup goalkeeper VINCENT ENYEAMA needed to employ all his considerable athleticism and skill to get his fingertips to the rocket of Sidibe and keep FC Hapoel Tel Aviv level.
With less than five minutes remaining in regulation time, the Reds created one final attempt at victory in the Big Tel Aviv Derby. Israel international midfielder GIL VERMOUTH launched a missle from the edge of the penalty area but Strauber proved equal to the task for FC Maccabi Tel Aviv. Thus, the score stood at 1-1 with the final whistle.
FC Hapoel Tel Aviv fell out of first place behind FC Maccabi Haifa with the draw opposite their traditional intra-city, arch-rival. FC Maccabi Tel Aviv, meanwhile, were able to stretch their hold on third to six points. The resurgent Yellows also remained unbeaten under the stewardship of Ivanir.
FC MACCABI TEL AVIV : Strauber – Ziv, Strool, Pavicevic, Saban (Gafney 86′) – Israelevich (Alberman 67′), Sidibe, Medunjanin, Buzaglo – Atar (Colautti 60′), Rangelov
FC HAPOEL TEL AVIV : Enyeama – Bondarv, Fransman, Badeer, Ben Dayan – Vermouth, Zahavi, Abutbul (Toama 62′), Yadin – Tamuz (Maree 83′), Sahar