After a disappointing start to their season, an energised FC Jaffa beat Aviv City 3-2 in a highly-charged contest in the latest round of Hamilton FX Olim League matches.
With the return of Nir Madmon and Joshua Bar, who had both been away from the club for over a year, FC Jaffa started off brightly.
Bar was put through on goal and his powerful effort was well saved by Eli Adry. Minutes later, a cross by Daniel Berkeley found Bar unmarked in the box, but the towering Scottish striker headed wide.
Despite the early dominance it was Aviv City that opened the scoring when an accurate long ball by player-manager Uri Schneider beat the offside trap and David Wielunsky calmly beat the Jaffa goalkeeper.
Aviv City continued looked for openings in Jaffa’s defence, which was being marshalled expertly by Stephen Caffrey. Against the run of play, Jaffa managed to find an equaliser through Bar, who collected the ball near the box, beat a man and finished expertly.
Aviv responded immediately, with Raul Olubo putting Remi Ozoagu in on goal, and the Nigerian midfielder finished his opportunity well.
Jaffa would soon respond as a cross by Berkeley was parried by Adry, and Bar collected the loose ball and finished into the empty net.
With the score 2-2 at half time, both teams came out looking for the key third goal. Jaffa threatened numerous times through excellent work from wingers Rani Madmon and Ben King-Scott, but couldn’t find the all important goal.
Jaffa's persistence finally paid off when a Rani Madmon free kick found an open Nir Tal unmarked near the goal. The defender mishit his shot, but it had enough to cross the line and give Jaffa the lead for the first time.
Aviv City went in search of an equaliser and were denied a good opportunity after a last-ditch tackle from Sam Rudnick. With full time approaching, a crunching tackle from Rani Madmon resulted in a heated confrontation between the teams. Jaffa were left with nine men after Nir Madmon was red carded after a shoving altercation with an Aviv player, and Bar was given his second yellow for dissent.
Nonetheless, Jaffa managed to hold on and secure their first win of the season.
"I was hoping for a hat-trick," a smiling Bar said at the end of the game, "but I guess two goals and a sending off will have to do!"
Jaffa’s captain Eyal Hoffman said: "Every player gave 100 per cent today, and with this kind of team effort, it will be hard to beat Jaffa."
With Jaffa’s heated rivals England FC being next week’s opposition, Hoffman demanded more: "We're the underdogs, and we’ll need to be even better to get a result."