“This year things are getting better”: the founding moment of Maccabi Haifa

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Was this the founding moment of Maccabi Haifa, in what could be the first championship season since 2010/11? Josh Cohen stopped a free kick from 11 meters very deep in overtime, and the Greens achieved a very dramatic 1: 2 over Maccabi Petah Tikva. In doing so, they opened a six-point gap at the top, and put even more pressure on Maccabi Tel Aviv (far 9th from the top with less play) ahead of Monday’s game against Betar Jerusalem. Lucky for a champion? It definitely feels that way, even if the 2020/21 season Still very long.

The minutes of extra time in the game, were the essence of the Greens’ first round. The VAR intervened and awarded a penalty to the Malabes – there was tremendous pressure on the bench, in the stands Yaakov Shachar looked troubled, but then the hero on duty, Josh Cohen, arrived and saved two precious points for Maccabi Haifa. By the way, goalkeeping coach Guy Wiesinger and team manager Gil Ofek were relaxed even before Yinon Eliyahu’s kick and told Barak Bachar that the goalkeeper would fend off the ball, and so it did.

With the last whistle of Eli Hachmon, the celebrations of the Maccabi Haifa people were accordingly. The understanding was clear: this is no longer a victory. “This year things are going well for us, in previous years we would go out with a point,” said a source at the club. Bachar concluded: “Glad we were able to get back into the game after conceding an early goal. The second half was our best this season. It was not reflected in the goals, but we managed to win in the end. I think we won rightly.”

How well things are going for the Greens this year can be found in the following fact: It was Maccabi Haifa’s fifth consecutive league victory – and this is the first time it has recorded such an achievement since October 2013. The only one left from the squad of 7 years ago is Taleb Twataha. By the way, then the streak was stopped by Bnei Yehuda – the same team that Maccabi Haifa will meet this coming Tuesday.

The winner of the winning goal, Dolev Haziza, was replaced after injuring his shoulder, but he hurried to tweet at the end: “Everything is fine, feeling good.” The contact is expected to be on the roster for the game against Bnei Yehuda. However, Barak Bachar will have to find a solution to fatigue among the older players, like Nikita Rokavica and Charon Sheri. The professional team will try to train the two for a third.

Yaakov Shachar went down to the lawn area at the end and complimented Bachar on the game. There was a big celebration in the locker room. Muhammad Abu Fani, who missed Pendel, and Taleb Twataha, who partnered only in the closing minutes, also took part in the festivities. By the way, the professional team decided to allow Abu Fani to kick the penalty in order to give him confidence, after the misses against Hapoel Tel Aviv. The link had an excellent game, and he arranged two valley situations for Nikita Rokavica and Charon Sheri. The team encouraged him after the miss.

In another matter, it is possible that Muhammad Awad made his last appearance in the Polish Lech Poznan uniform last night, when he first started in the squad as part of the league game against Wisla Krakow. The league in Poland is now on a five-week break, and Haifa is expected to contact Awad in an attempt to bring him back.