Israel Soccer: Inter Aliyah Finishes Two Spots Ahead of 2017, Placing Eighth

Israel's first all-immigrant team showed much promise early on in the season, only to falter during a difficult start to the second half of it

The Inter Aliyah soccer team.
Sam Sank

In what was only its second season in the fifth tier of Israeli professional soccer, Inter Aliyah improved on its 10th-place finish in 2017, moving up two notches into eighth place.

Israel’s first all-immigrant team will nonetheless look back with slight disappointment on the 2017-18 campaign, having shown much promise early on only to falter slightly during a difficult start to the second half of the season.

The season kicked off with a short National Cup campaign, whereby Inter Aliyah was knocked out in painful fashion, thanks to a last-minute goal against Liga Gimel playoff winners Bnei Yehuda in what was the second qualifying round.

In the league campaign, encouraging wins early on — against teams they had lost to a year earlier — pushed the collection of new immigrants into the top half of the season at the turn of the year. Memorable games included a dramatic 4-4 comeback at home to Hapoel Tzafririm, before the team went one better by beating fierce rivals Maccabi Shikma Hen 4-3 in December.

In the new year, Inter’s form faltered slightly as a result of a combination of missing players, midweek scheduled games and a general drop in form. A number of tenacious encounters saw the multinational side face off against some of the more violent teams in Israel, where at times it seemed that it would take them more than just soccer to win the game.

With just a handful of games to go it seemed that Inter would drop out of the top half of the table of 16 teams, but a surge in form ensured that they would seal an eighth-place finish, undoubtedly an achievement in just their second season in a professional soccer league.