Ra’anana is now well represented at the top of the International Football League of Israel table, with both Ra’anana FC and Ra’anana Olim sporting perfect records after four matches. Ra’anana has the advantage though, with a 13-point goal difference as opposed to nine for the Olim squad.
Ra’anana dominated Ukraine 7-1 on Saturday after racing to a 6-1 halftime lead. Michelle Orellano led all scorers with four goals, while Rani Lachman, Barak Maimoni and Dar Koren added a goal apiece. Koren also chipped in two assists, as did teammate Elihay Zabari. Ra’anana Olim won by a more modest 3-1 score over host ETZ Ashdod. In that game, Amit Corney, Yoav Lebens and Aviad Ben Meir all netted goals in the victory.
The most lopsided match of Saturday, however, was won 10-0 by visiting Atletico Niv over AJAF. Yaron Genatek dominated with four goals, while Aviv Zemer scored three ties. Eli Cohen earned a brace, while Bar Vahaba completed the scoring for Niv, which is alone in third place with three wins after four games and nine points total.
Israel bows to Belgium in qualifier
Israel played gallantly in its home opener of the IFAF European Championship Group B qualification tournament against Belgium’s national football team but ultimately lost 32-23.
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The local squad rallied from a 14-0 deficit to go into halftime ahead 17-14. Game MVP Ruben de Ruyter led the Barbarians with two TDs to defeat the hosts.
Local officials took heart from the fact that Israel, which only began international play in 2016, put up a good fight in its first European Group B qualifier at home.
“This was a momentous event,” said American Football in Israel president Steve Leibowitz. “The result is somewhat disappointing because it was a very evenly matched game that could have gone either way. Still, we will take a lot of positives out of our first game on home soil.”
Israel, coached by former NFL player Jay Hoffman, is now 1-1. The team defeated Turkey 27-22 last month in Samsun. It still has to take on Spain at home and go to Hungary to meet the group favorite next fall. The top team will advance to Group A, the top tier in Europe.