Friday, October 31, 2008

Israel October/November 2008

Ra'anana it is.

Hapoel Ra'anana 3 Hapoel Kfar Saba 2.

In the 2nd level of Israeli football this was a local derby played in a small ground in a town near Herzliya , north of Tel Aviv.
Around 400 saw it , fairly evenly divided in the main seating area between the greens and the reds.

The 'green vein' fans of Kfar Saba brought a drum and some large flags. They would go home disappointed.

It was a fluctuating game played in a very pleasant conditions of around 20 degrees.

First Kfar lead then Ra'anana equalised before the break.

The home team then got in front , Kfar replied amongst much celebration after which Ra'anana had a man sent off.

But the ten men had the last word following a left wing break and cross shot.

This being Friday afternoon my main concern was to get the last bus back to Tel Aviv - which I made OK arriving back in a nearly deserted central bus station just after sunset.

Dele done good.

Arrive early in Netanya and you can wander along the beach, improve your sun tan and enjoy a decent capucchino.
I shook the sand off my shoes and strolled to their stadium for :-

Maccabi Netanya 2 Bnei Yehuda 2

An Israel Premier League clash of top against bottom - not that it seemed like it.

Netanya have an old ground (in fact older than the state of Israel) hemmed into a residential area of this seaside city to the north of Tel Aviv.
Next year they are expected to move to a new stadium , presumably with the assistance of finances from their affluent German owner.

Meanwhile the Sar-Tov provides an old style setting with the fans very near to the pitch and ready to celebrate with the players as the goals go in.
Bnei Yehuda had their orange clad fans behind one goal whilst the home fans, in yellow , had their flags along the larger side.
It was another very enjoyable contest though probably not for the famous Netanya coach , one Lothar Matthaus.

His side did take the lead from a deflected Tazemeta header but were pegged back early in the second half by another header - from Baldut.

Bnei Yehuda then gained the initiative and after some Pedro Galvan trickery Atar was able to turn and score to give the away team the lead.

Netanya did equalise, again from a cross , nodded home by sub. Yampolski.
Bnei Yehuda goalie Dele Aiyenugba had a generally commanding game and he had the final say, following the award of a dubious looking penalty, saving Shechter's shot to preserve the 2-2 scoreline.

In about forty five minuites I was back in Tel Aviv via a brisk Sherut.

Beitar bit.

Many visitors come to Jerusalem to sample the history and the religious experience.
But if you are a football fan then go to see the atmosphere at the Teddy stadium.

Your correspondent joined the Teddy boys (and girls), some 15000, to watch :-

Beitar Jerusalem 0 Hapoel Tel Aviv 2.

Even though its 3/4 quarters built the ground is impressive and both sets of fans generated some serious noise for this Premier League game.

Beitar scorned various chances , especially the luckless Itzahki who contrived to miss one from 5 yards.
They paid for it later as Samuel Yeboah scored two in the last 6 minutes to secure the victory.

All three of these matches provided excellent entertainment.

That combined with great November weather and some passionate fans made for a enjoyable trip to the promised land.

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