Jerusalem’s Faint Title Hopes Still Alive

Dan Cohen’s ‘Fergie time’ brace seals victory over England.

David Bernstein
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An archive photo showing Yoni Sidi and Motti Colman of the England squad for the Olim World Cup.
An archive photo showing Yoni Sidi and Motti Colman of the England squad for the Olim World Cup.Credit: David Bernstein
David Bernstein

Jerusalem’s very faint title hopes were kept alive thanks to a late brace from Dan Cohen in added time that gave them a 4-3 victory over England FC.

England made the trip to the capital in good spirits following two wins on the trot, but missing some key players. Jerusalem also went into this fixture missing a few first-team players, but on paper and form, looked slightly stronger.

After a few half-chances in the opening minutes, Jerusalem deservedly took the lead after a cross from Akiva Zneimer found Mordy Weiler at the back post to poke the ball home with barely 10 minutes on the clock.

England almost hit straight back, only to be denied by an excellent save from Daniel Boerstra. Jerusalem dominated the next quarter of an hour, but were unable to penetrate the England back four.

England went on the ascendency, and a corner found Roy Bihi-Zenou, who climbed highest to power his header into the back of the net to level the score at 1-1.

Within a minute, Jerusalem was back in front, as Gav Cohen struck a crisp volley that appeared to be heading straight for Roy Meron in the England goal. However an uncharacteristic lapse in concentration from the vocal ‘keeper allowed the ball to slip through his hands and crawl over the line.

The second half started in a similar vein, with Jerusalem having the best of the early chances, but the game turned when an England counterattack found Gaby Balulu, who was able to find space and expertly slot the ball past the onrushing goalkeeper to put England back on level terms.

England eventually turned up a gear, and took the lead with the goal of the game as Omri Hamama struck a peach of a shot from outside the area that nestled into the back of the net.

Jerusalem, with nothing to lose, then made some changes with a very attacking line-up, taking off a center back and holding midfielder. However, everything they threw forward was lapped up by the England back line, marshaled by Yoni Sidi and Omer Peleg.

With the referee showing four minutes of time added on for injuries and other delays, Jerusalem turned the tie on its head with two very late goals to snatch the three points.

Two minutes into the four, Korman swung in a cross that was met by Dan Cohen’s perfectly timed header to find the bottom right corner. With the bit between their teeth, the hosts got the unlikely winner 90 seconds later. A slick Jerusalem move found Hibbert, who slid the ball through the England defence to find the onrushing Cohen, who rounded Meron in the England goal to slot the ball in and send the Jerusalem supporters wild.

England’s manager Terry Newman summed up another classic Jerusalem v England FC game in one word: “Gutted!”

Jerusalem’s joint manager Danny Newman was thrilled with the crucial win, but not the second half performance. “We should have put the game to bed in the first half, which we dominated,” he said. “They were by far the better organized side in the second half, getting their tactics spot on.”

Newman added, “Dan Cohen is the most unselfish of strikers, but he really stepped up to the plate with two crucial finishes in ‘Fergie time.’”

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