Must Win For FC Maccabi Tel Aviv

Bosnia international midfielder HARIS MEDUNJANIN, who scored 11 goals in 57 Eredivisie games over four seasons with Dutch clubs AZ 67 Alkmaar and Sparta Rotterdam before moving to Spain, led FC MACCABI TEL AVIV with four goals in six UEFA Europa League matches after transferring this past summer from relegated Real Valladolid; the 25-year-old midfielder is currently second on the Israeli club with five goals in Ligat ha’Al this season. (Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images)

In spite of all the heavy losses suffered by FC MACCABI TEL AVIV, both on and off the pitch, recently, the 20-times champion of Israel can move into third place, three points clear of FC Ironi Kiryat Shmona in the Ligat ha’Al table, with a victory over FC Beitar Jersualem at the friendly confines of the Bloomfield Stadium on Monday.

Of course, long-time Israel international and FC Maccabi Tel Aviv player AVI COHEN can never be replaced.

But the 22-time winner of the Israel State Cup have changed coaches after a pair of disastrous defeats; a 3-0 whipping at the hands of table-toppers FC Maccabi Haifa in Ligat ha’Al followed by the 4-1 thrashing inflicted by FC Maccabi Petah Tikva in the Toto League Cup was enough the end the tenure of first-year trainer YOSSI MIZRAHI, the former Israel international goalkeeper.

Oddly enough, Mizrahi spent the majority of his playing career and made 371 appearances with Beitar Jersualem from 1974 until 1988.

The new manager is MORDECHAI “Motti” IVANIR, a former FC Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder who earned 18 caps and scored one goal for the national team of Israel during his playing career — the first task of the new manager should be to invigorate the lackluster attack.

The summer signing from city rival FC Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv who cost a reported $ 1.2 million dollars, 23-year-old striker ELIRAN ATAR, has carried the attack. The former Israel U-21 international, who scored two goals at the Bloomfield Stadium during Maccabi Tel Aviv’s 4-3 triumph over visiting French Ligue 1 side Paris St. Germain in the UEFA Europa League, leads The Yellows with seven goals in 16 Ligat ha’Al matches this season. Atar, however, needs some assistance.

A pair of ex-Bundesliga strikers need to step up the pace or pay the price soon.

Experienced Israel international ROBERTO COLAUTTI arrived on a free transfer after three terms with German side Borussia Moenchengladbach. The 28-year-old veteran striker scored the goal that kicked Greek club FC Olympiakos Piraeus out of the UEFA Europa League. But, Colautti has just two goals for FC Maccabi Tel Aviv in the Israeli top flight this time around.

DIMITAR RANGELOV, who has earned 24 caps for Bulgaria, is out on loan to FC Maccabi Tel Aviv with an option to purchase from current Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund. The 27-year-old striker, after scoring nine goals in 27 games for Energie Cottbus during the 2008-09 season in the German elite league, had been sold to die Schwarzgelben for a transfer fee of 1.0 million Euros. Just one goal in ten Bundesliga games for Borussia Dortmund last season left the Bulgarian expendable.

With just one goal for FC Maccabi Tel Aviv in Ligat ha’Al thus far, exercising Rangelov’s option, at this point, is far from a done deal.


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