It had been a very tough season for goalkeeper GUY HAIMOV so far.
It was the FC Maccabi Tel Aviv shot-stopper, then, who had been tapped as a substitute for Spanish legionnaire Dudu Aouate of Real Mallorca at halftime by Israel in the UEFA European Championships, Group F qualifying match in Zagreb. The visitors were clinging to a one goal lead at the break but it all collapsed rather quickly as Croatia put three balls past the hapless Haimov within twelves minutes of the restart. Having a player sent off after the equalizer, of course, did little to help the 24-year-old’s cause on his unfortunte international debut that early September day.
Not so long afterwards, Haimov, who had finally rejoined the Yellows senior squad after spending the past five seasons out on loan to three different Israeli clubs, was between the sticks as FC Maccabi Tel Aviv were drubbed 5-1 by JK Beskitas in Instanbul during the round robin phase of the UEFA Europa League.
And then the injury bug hit in late October, following the 3-0 loss to Stoke City in England, causing Haimov to miss the next 17 Ligat ha’Al matches in succession.
Game-winning goal-scorer ELIRAN ATAR (16) and Man of the Match GUY HAIMOV (55) in the winning changing room with the rest of the FC MACCABI TEL AVIV squad following the memorable 1-0 defeat of arch-rival FC Hapoel Tel Aviv in the Big Tel Aviv Derby from the Bloomfield Stadium.
But everything has changed so much for the better now.
Finally, Haimov had his turn to make his debut in the grand Big Tel Aviv Derby. And the goalkeeper who, ironically enough, spent last term with this season’s Ligat ha’Al leaders, Ironyi Kiryat Shmona, would more than make the most of his opportunity in such a high-profile match. A string of excellent saves in the second half by the FC Maccabi Tel Aviv youth team product saw to it that the ten-game winless skid against its intra-city, arch-adversary was ended in dramatic fashion.
In fact, not only was Haimov sensational oppostite FC Hapoel Tel Aviv, the first choice for the Yellows has actually kept the sheet clean in all three matches he has started since returning from injury.