There were victories for England FC, Jaffa and Bambi in the latest round of Olim League matches in Israel.
ENGLAND BACK TO THEIR BEST
ENGLAND FC 4 RANAANA 1
Saturday’s clash between England FC and Raanana opened in a spirited fashion with both sides playing attacking football.
England took an early lead through an exquisite free-kick curled by Nicky Plotnek on to the underside of the crossbar and nestled in the net. Shortly after England doubled their lead with a well-worked goal finished off by Chad Waldman. That was soon followed by a strong headed goal from Omri Hamama after good work from Waldman on the right-hand side.
Raanana started the second half strongly, but Amitai Bakar continued his important defensive midfield role with aplomb and Roy Maron, the England goalkeeper, dominated his area. Nevertheless, the England defence was eventually breached by a good goal slotted in from left to right by Aviad Ben Meir.
England responded almost immediately with a stunning solo goal from Gaby Balulu from outside the area.
Defending champions England now need to build on this result if they are to start climbing back up the league to retain their title.
JOY FOR JAFFA
JAFFA FC 4 ASHDOD 2
As seems to be the yearly routine with Jaffa FC, a poor start to the season has been followed by a hot streak.
After starting the season with three straight losses, Jaffa FC continued their three-game unbeaten streak (2-1-0) with a 4-2 win over Ashdod. Jaffa dominated the early proceedings and were rewarded with a tap-in in the 10th minute from Sam Silverberg after excellent work from Rani Madmon and Daniel Berkeley.
After the goal, Ashdod took control the match forcing Jaffa’s imposing Omer Devir into some smart saves. Not to be denied, Ashdod’s pressure eventually cracked the resolute Jaffa defence with a well-placed 25-yard drive by Ilan Amar.
Both teams missed chances before half-time, but Ashdod found themselves 2-1 up early in the second half thanks to a powerful finish from Ofir Firouz.
With their chances of a top half finish hanging in the balance, Jaffa turned the game around in six crazy minutes. In the 51st minute, a deft pass from Berkeley was handled by Ashdod’s defence in the box, and Alberto Elias converted the resultant spot-kick. Jaffa continued to push forward, and in the 57th minute, a smartly taken Nir Ha’Cohen corner was flicked on by Josh Silverberg to Sam Silverberg who slammed the ball home for a 3-2 lead.
Ashdod started throwing men forward in search of an equaliser, and were soon denied by a fantastic close range save from Devir. Sam Silverberg completed his hat-trick with a lovely finish cementing the win.
Ashdod matchwinner Sam Silverberg commented: "I've never scored a hat trick in my life. It’s normally Josh doing that, so for me to do it the first time was phenomenal."
MODIIN 2 MS BAMBI 4
MS Bambi boss Yoni Sarig says his team showed great character as they recorded a 4-2 victory over Modiin.
This clash between the top two teams started with a lot of tension in the air and very little football being played. Modiin enjoyed an early period of pressure and capitalised on a poor backpass to open the scoring.
Bambi rallied and played the more composed football which led to an equaliser, with a corner from Adi Aishta converted by Gil.
Bambi continued to press and Yoni Caduri scored a screamer - firing a shot over the Modiin keeper from the right wing.
The second half saw Bambi dominating the game and controlling the possession, constantly pressing the Modiin back. Bambi scored again when a corner kick by Gal Kopilvitch was headed by Caduri to make it 3-1.
Modiin then worked their way back into the game, scoring from a corner to make it 3-2. But Bambi showed their resilience and after Hugo was fouled outside the Modiin box, Aviv Zemer scored an excellent free-kick to seal the points.
Bambi’s Manager Yoni Sarig said: "This was our biggest victory of the season and although we took a while to get into the game, we showed character and eventually won.
"I am very proud of my team. We have made a spectacular impact in our first season in the league and are improving from game to game. Modiin are a very good team, they deserve to be on the top of the table.
"We will continue to move forward and try to meet the goals we set for ourselves. We are not thinking about being champions right now, our focus is on our next fixture against Ashdod "
OLIM LEAGUE TEAM OF THE WEEK (3-5-2 formation)
Omer Devir (Jaffa)
Elias Sandler (Jaffa), Gadi Itzhack (Bambi), Terry Newman (England)
Yoni Caduri (Bambi), Sam Silverberg (Jaffa), Gaby Balulu (England), Ilan Amir (Ashdod), Adi Eshter (Bambi)
Chad Waldman (England), Itai Saidoff (Modiin), Aviad Ben Meir (Raanana)
Simon Berkley (Jaffa)