Olim League / Aviv avenges last year's drubbings by England A
England A had beaten newcomer Aviv City last season twice, by five- and six-goal margins. However, Aviv improved this season, having reached second place at one stage and moving back into third alongside Jerusalem.
Aviv City turned the tables on England A last week, eking out a 2-1 victory over the defending champion. The win was Aviv's first ever victory against England.
England A had beaten newcomer Aviv City last season twice, by five- and six-goal margins. However, Aviv is much improved this season, having reached second place at one stage and moving back into third alongside Jerusalem following this upset.
England started off on top, with its trade-mark possession soccer and dominating midfield. However, on a counter attack against the run of play, co-manager Uri Schneider set up midfielder Ariel Peretz, who slotted home on eight minutes to make it 1-0 Aviv City. England responded well and continued its pressure, which saw Roy Benizou tap in from an Omri shot to equalize before halftime.
City's goalkeeper Rob Bradman, who had the game of the season, made some fine saves in the second half to keep the score even. Eventually, City got a corner and Nigerian Martin Udeani rose above the England defense to head in the winner. In the final minutes England missed potential equalizers as Tomer, Lewis Kaye and Omri all failed to convert their chances.
"This was a game that we really wanted to win to prove to ourselves that we are a good team and that previous wins were not just anomalies or lucky," said City manager Richard Binstock. "I respect England A - they consistently play solid, passing football, so to match them on the pitch, and to take the few chances we had to win the game was massive."
Modi'in 2, Ra'anana 3
A windswept pitch in Modi'in witnessed an epic battle as Ra'anana extended its lead at the top of the Olim league. Noam Cohen found a fine finish to start the scoring for Modi'in. Ra'anana's traditional passing game was limited due to the difficult conditions, but its pressure eventually paid off with Naftali Kanicofsky finding the back of the net to knot the game at one-all.
Just before the half Ra'anna took the lead, as Omri took a fine free kick which could only be parried by the Modi'in goalkeeper, with Hillel Bloch on hand to get the ball over the line.
Modi'in came out with renewed vigor in the second half and the defensive duo of Martin Lange and Mark Chass made it difficult for Ra'anana's young strikers to find the way through to close the game out. In the 80th minute, Ra'anana 'keeper Efraim Blog couldn't hold the ball on a floater by Modi'in, and in the ensuing scramble the score line was squared by Ilan Sharon.
The last 10 minutes saw some frantic soccer and heroic saves from Modi'in player-manager Ryan Hass. A last-chance substitution saw Ariel Langer come on to open up space on the left wing. Finding room, he eventually broke forward and calmly slotted home to win the game for Ra'anana.
"It was a tough game for us, not being on top form," said Ra'anana player-manager Avi Cohen, "yet despite being short on substitutes we showed the character and persistence in getting the goal we needed."
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