Modiin manager Jamie Lazarus
Modiin manager Jamie Lazarus Photo by David Bernstein
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Jerusalem continued its march up the Olim Football league table last week with a second convincing victory, 5-1 over a strong Ra’anana side. In Modi’in, the hosts blew out England 7-1, while in Jaffa the home side edged Aviv City 2-1.

Jerusalem was not quite as quick off the mark last Saturday as four weeks ago, when it scored after just 23 seconds in a 4-4 draw between the same two sides. However, center back Eyal Toledo did almost as well, heading in from a corner by Calev Ben Dor two minutes and 43 seconds into the match.

Ra’anana almost hit back immediately, with a free kick on the edge of the box tipped over by Daniel Boestra, their recent signing from Athletico Jerusalem (which folded a couple of weeks ago).

Jerusalem, playing one of its best half hours of soccer this season, earned its second goal when Akiva Zneimer released Moishe Lewis after a great run, and his shot hit the back of the net. Jerusalem continued to attack, and four minutes before the interval, after some great passing, Zneimer made it 3-0.

Ra’anana started the second half the stronger and almost pulled a goal back when Danny Rebuck’s shot from 30 yards was tipped onto the bar by Boestra. Jerusalem soaked up the first five minutes of Ra’anana pressure and then resumed its free-flowing game. A series of shots were well saved by the Ra’anana ’keeper, but Jerusalem got its fourth when Gav Cohen scored at the second attempt, after his first effort was well saved.

In the 70th minute Ra’anana pulled one back when an excellent through ball found Nathan Ben Ari, whose composed finish gave the away side a glimmer of hope. Ra’anana almost clawed back a second four minutes later, but the free kick came back off the post.

With 15 minutes to go, Zack Lewis put the game to bed with a great piece of individual skill, juggling the ball in the area over a defender before lobbing the keeper – 5-1 to Jerusalem.

Modi’in 7, England 1 

Modi’in, chasing league-leading Bambi, got off to a strong start against visiting England, and after only 2 minutes a great through ball from Itai Saidoff to Amichai Friedman ended with a great shot inside the far post – 1-0 to Modi’in.

In the ninth minute, a foul on a Modi’in payer was the cause of a straight red card and England was down to 10 men. However, England did not give up and looked dangerous, even with a man less. The England attack forced multiple saves from Modi’in ’keeper Ran Hazon.

After 25 minutes, Joni Reiner scored a great goal to make the score 2-0. Almost immediately, England upped its work rate and scored to make it 2-1. Just before the halftime break, Yonatan Journo – a new signing from the old Athletico side – latched on to a ball deep in the England half and clinically finished to make it 3-1 to Modi’in at the break.

The second half started with England moving well around the pitch, its players throwing themselves into tackles and trying to get a goal back. However, soon after the restart Matan Kroizer crossed the ball from the left-hand side deep in the England half, which Reiner met with a sweetly hit volley straight into the net.

Modi’in continued to push and a great one-two by Kroizer ended with him scoring a superb goal for 5-1.

A short time later, Adi Meiyuri ran forward to latch onto a cross across the England goalmouth and headed in another goal, bringing the score to 6-1.

England had another player sent off in the 65th minute, with a third following in the 79th minute for abusing the referee.

Just before the end of the game, the youngest player on the Modi’in team, Beni Sragif, surged forward and put away the final goal of the evening.

Jaffa 2, Aviv City 1 

FC Jaffa continued its strong run with a third win in its last five games by beating Aviv City 2-1, which included celebrity debutant Aki Avni. All the goals were scored in a frantic first half, with both teams constantly on the attack.

Aviv broke the deadlock in the 20th minute through the excellent Peter Emolla, who fed the ball into the box for Naor Lisha to beat debutant Gilad Becker with a well-placed shot. Jaffa was creating opportunities, and eventually found the equalizer through Nir Ha’Cohen, who collected an Eyal Hoffman pass and expertly finished past Rob Bradman. With the game approaching halftime, Rani Madmon broke into the box and was felled by Ari Kahn. Ha’Cohen made no mistake with the spot kick to give Jaffa a 2-1 lead. 

“It was a critical win for us,” an ecstatic Simon Berkley commented after the game. “We still want to be in the running for a top four finish, and wins like this will give us that opportunity.” Man of the match Ha’Cohen was happy with the team’s effort. “The team gave everything for 90 minutes, and we deserved this win,” he said. “We’re looking forward to Modi’in this coming weekend.”