Soccer / Olim League

Bambi Beats England to Stay on Top

Three Jerusalem team amass one point between them in busy weekend schedule.

Bambi overpowered England Saturday night in a 6-2 win to stay atop the Olim League soccer table. Ashdod took control of its match at Athletico Jerusalem just before half time and never looked back, trouncing the hosts 6-1 to stay within four points of Bambi and leapfrog over Real Jerusalem, which fell 4-2 to second-place Modi’in.

Bambi (4-1-0, 13 points) first took the lead via an Ori Cabir through-ball to Aviv Zemer, who scored from inside the box. Cabir then assisted Aviv Halperin for the next goal, while Alperin passed on the favor to Bar Blumberg, who turned inside the box and found the net for a 3-0 half-time lead.  

Last season’s top scorer Adam Jaffe showed his worth, scoring a quick brace at the start of the second half to pull England (1-0-4, 3 points) within a goal. However, after its goalkeeper Eyal Younger made a top-class save to avert the equalizer, Bambi dominated down the stretch. Aviv Zemer scored an amazing free kick from 20 meters out, followed by goals from Halperin and Ido Sacajiu for the final result.

“It was a very fast and aggressive game filled with opportunities,” said Bambi manager Yoni Sarig after the game. “It wasn’t too difficult for us to beat England, but to win by a four-goal margin was hard work.”

Ashdod’s game with Athletico (1-0-5, 3 points) started with a good rhythm as the hosts took control of the early stages. Athletico’s pressure on Ashdod (3-0-2, 9 points) almost translated into a goal, but was denied by the post. Ashdod gradually worked its way into the game and took the lead just before the half-time whistle.

Ashdod quickly went up 3-0 after the break. Athletico began to fight back desperately to get a goal and pull its way back into the game, and was eventually rewarded when a deflection off an Ashdod defender made it 3-1.

But as is so often the case with this Athletico team, they lost their heads in the second half and Ashdod were able to score another three goals on counter attacks to make it 6-1

After the game Ashdod manager David Ahayon said, “They have young and nice players, but of course it's not easy the first year.” 

Modi’in’s game against visiting Real Jerusalem (3-0-3, 9 points) was a more closely matched encounter, with Real taking the early lead and Modi’in (4-0-1, 12 points) rallying in the second half to prevail 4-2.

Real started with more purpose, capitalizing from a long ball over the top. Nati Hason latched onto the ball and finished well to put Real ahead. Although Modi’in began to play its passing game, Hason struck again 20 minutes later to take a deserved 2-0 lead. Modi’in was prompted to make some first-half substitutions, which paid off when Itai Saidoff was brought down on a run in the penalty area. Captain Omri Encaoua coolly slotted home the resulting penalty to bring Modi’in back into the game.

In the second half, Real parked the proverbial bus, reverting to a 7-0-3 formation. Modi’in threw on striker Lanre Adeyinka to mix things about and within five minutes, Adeyinka had drawn Modii’n level with a purposeful strike from 10 meters. Five minutes later, Adeyinka was fouled in the area in an off-the-ball incident, which resulted in a red card for the Real defender. Encaoua sent the 'keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot to make it 3-2 to Modi’in.

While Real keeper Francisco Enrique Salgado Jara was in fine form making some acrobatic saves, a mix-up in the Real defense allowed Beni Sragi to nip in and score into an empty net.

Modi'in co-managers Jamie Lazarus and David Bruce were delighted for their team. “They showed great character to come back from 2-0 down,” said Lazarus. “Real was a very difficult team to break down, but in the end our quality shone through,” added Bruce.  

Over in Ra’anana, the third Jerusalem club became the only team from the capital to come away with a point in a draw with the host.

Jerusalem (2-1-2, 7 points) drew first blood, with a mixture of some sloppy defending and slick passing from Amit Dinowitz. Jerusalem would strike twice again before Ra’anana (2-2-1, 8 points) woke up. Late in the first half, Danny Rebuk finished off a great one-two with a shot into the bottom left corner, which was followed by another Ra’anana goal from Ronen Goldsmith and a lovely little back-heel from Eyal Slasky to make it 3-2. Jerusalem fought back to make it 3-3 with a cool finish from Daniel Cohen and then went 4-3 ahead after being awarded a harsh penalty for handball in the area.

As the game was entering its final 10 minutes Slasky headed into the top right of the Jerusalem goal for his second goal of the game after a beautiful cross by Nathan Ben Ari.

Elsewhere, Jaffa (1-1-3, 4 points) and Aviv City (1-3-1, 6 points) played out a 3-3 draw. 

Ofer Vaknin