Modi’in looked in top form on the opening weekend of the Olim Football League, while Real Jerusalem and Ashdod pulled off hotly contested victories Saturday night.
The game between Modi’in and Athletico started out as a tight affair, but Modi’in emerged with a 5-0 triumph. Both teams pressed for an early goal. Modi’in broke the deadlock on the half-hour mark, as a floated free kick was headed home by Joni Reiner. Modi’in continued to play attacking soccer and went into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
Modi’in made some substitutions that transformed its play and within five minutes, Matan Kroizer doubled Modi’in’s lead with a coolly taken finish. Modi’in was now in full flight and Aviad Kaufman broke the offside trap on two separate occasions to extend Modi’in’s lead to 4-0.
Athletico fought back and with 15 minutes left won a penalty. Striker Yonatan Yourno stepped up with a sweetly struck effort, but Modi’in goalkeeper and man of the match Iliyah Kovalov dived to his right, ensuring that Modi’in would keep its first clean sheet of the season.
As the game edged into the final minutes, Modi’in midfielder Lanre Wajuv went on a mazy run and comfortably finished into the bottom right-hand corner.
Modi’in comanager Jamie Lazarus was extremely pleased with his team’s performance. “We are very happy with the football we played tonight,” he said. “It is a great result for the lads. We have assembled a great squad and are confident we will achieve success this season.”
Over in the capital, Jerusalem faced an uphill battle against crosstown rival Real. With no strikers fit or available Jerusalem ultimately played veteran defender Danny Newman up front. Jerusalem kept the score even through the first 45 minutes but eventually succumbed, 6-4.
Jerusalem controlled the first 15 minutes, at the end of which Akiva Zneimer fed Amit Dinowitz to finish off a good team move.
Real Jerusalem then began dominating the game, equalizing with a good finish on 20 minutes after poor defending; then on the half hour a great timed run and superb finish to give Real a 2-1 lead.
During the last 10 minutes of the half Jerusalem started getting back in the game, with the equalizer coming at 40 minutes when Lollu Hibbert scored from outside the right corner of the area, into the left-hand corner from about 30 yards.
Jerusalem started the second half slightly on top but could not get more than one good effort by Gav Cohen, which went over the top right-hand corner. Real began looking comfortable on the ball again and took advantage of a fumble by the Jerusalem goalkeeper, tapping in for a 3-2 lead on the hour. Seven minutes later, with Jerusalem leaving gaps as it pressed forward, Real pulled off a good header to make it 4-2.
Jerusalem changed formation with three defenders, and pushed Newman up front for the last 15 minutes. Within minutes Hibbert scored his second goal to make it a game again. Minutes later, with Jerusalem pushing for an equalizer, Real capitalized on gaps at the back to restore its two-goal advantage at 5-3.
Jerusalem kept pushing and a Yoel Finchas cross was knocked into the Real net by a defender - 5-4 Real.
In the dying minutes, with Jerusalem again looking to equalize, Real beat a stretched back three for the 6-4 win.
In the England-Ashdod match, England had only 11 players and was apparently without its goalkeeper, and Ashdod with its full complement of 15 players prevailed 2-1.
Despite Ashdod dominating the first half with many goal opportunities, thanks to good defense England opened the scoring with a nice goal just before the break by Roy Ben Zihou.
England started the second half with only 10 men due to injury. After many goal attempts Ashdod’s youngest player, Elihav Chemouny, equalized for Ashdod 1-1.
Ashdod pushed to win the game, but England resisted with courage and even had good opportunities to score again but the defense and Ashdod’s great new goalkeeper managed to hold out.
Three minutes before the end of the game, Ofir F. scored for Ashdod, which then had to defend frantically against an attacking England. The referee whistled the end of the game, leaving Ashdod the winner.
Elsewhere Jaffa lost to Ra’anana in a thrilling 5-4 game, and Aviv City and MS Bambi played out the only draw of the night, 1-1.
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