Soccer / Between sirens, Maccabi Tel Aviv looses routine game
Fans and players carried on more or less normally as Bnei Yehuda beat Maccabi Haifa and Ramat Hasharon beat Maccabi Netanya yesterday.
Maccabi Tel Aviv's 1-0 loss to Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium last night was distracting enough to keep the fans' minds off the security situation.
"There are missiles, so maybe there won't be school tomorrow," one boy said to his father, who answered, "You saw that we were at the game, and everything was alright - except for Maccabi."
Save for two minutes when the announcer read out the Home Front Command orders to the 7,000 fans, what to do in case of emergency, the game played out routinely.
"We had a total of three sirens," said one of the fans. "What's that compared to the southern residents, who hear a siren every few minutes."
The routine included fans leaving early and stopping at the adjacent bakery to eat pretzels, doughnuts, borekas and anything else emerging from the oven. The check-out line was normal, and there were no scenes of panic.
The fact that a siren went off in the Dan region an hour before game time bothered Maccabi Tel Aviv, which preferred to postpone the match against Bnei Yehuda but ran into the refusal of Avi Luzon, the chairman of the Israel Football Association. "It's very hard for the players to concentrate," said Jordi Cruyff, Maccabi Tel Aviv's GM.
Indeed, Maccabi played poorly but it had nothing to do with the security situation. Nenad Marinkovic's 13th minute score was enough for the visitors to take three points.
Luzon explained that if the Home Front Command had ordered the game to be postponed he would have done so, but the order was clearly to carry on routinely.
The loss allowed Hapoel Tel Aviv to catch up on points, although Maccabi still holds first place based on its more advantageous goal difference.
Toto Tamuz struck early - in the third minute - for the lone goal of Hapoel's victory over host Kiryat Shmona. The match was a symbolic reversal of last year, when the changing of the guard saw eventual champion Kiryat Shmona defeating Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Ramat Hasharon defeated host Maccabi Netanya 2-1 in the league's only other match yesterday. Because of the security situation, the IFA postponed the Ashdod-Hapel Acre and Hapoel Be'er Sheva-Hapoel Ramat Gan matches.