Olim title race takes a twist as Jaffa crush Ra’anana
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Jaffa FC continued their traditional late season surge with a 5-1 demolition of league leaders Ra’anana.
Coming off a 4-1 win over Aviv City, Jaffa dominated the early proceeding with both Daniel Szyller and Rani Madmon seeing a few excellent opportunities stopped by Ra'anana goalkeeper Robin Burkman.
Ra’anana created a few chances with quick counter-attacks, one which resulted in a rejected penalty shout.
A few minutes before the half time whistle, Jaffa made a breakthrough. Esi Bildosola made a brilliant run into the box and finished with a low shot into the left corner.
Ra’anana came out looking to take control of the game at the start of the second half. Within a few minutes, a long-range shot by Ariel Langer was deflected by Yosi Sandler, Jaffa’s right back, leaving Simon Davies wrong footed as the ball flew into the net.
Despite getting back into the game, Ra'anana quickly lost their momentum. Jaffa responded quickly with their dominant Irish centre-back, Stephen Caffrey, heading in a Madmon corner to give Jaffa the lead again.
Jaffa continued to dominate the game, and scored again after another corner - Nir Tal’s header was parried by Burkman, and Bildosola was on hand to power in the rebound.
With little space being afforded to Ra’anana’s attacking talent, Jaffa looked to kill the game off but found Burkman in top form.
The game was, however, put out of reach by Rani Madmon, who collected the rebound of his own shot, and calmly chipped the goalkeeper to give Jaffa a 4-1 lead.
Ra’anana’s frustration began to boil over, and they soon found themselves with only 10 men on the pitch when star striker, Aviad Ben Meir, was red-carded after reacting badly to losing the ball to Bildosola.
Jaffa scored again minutes later when Nir Ha’Cohen beat his defender and gave Burkman no chance with a powerful finish.
Jaffa’s 5-1 win has given Jerusalem, who are two points behind Ra’anana with a game in hand, a chance to take over the league lead this weekend when they face Aviv City. Jaffa, though still mathematically alive in the title race, will need to win their remaining three fixtures and hope for a lot of help if they are to take the title.
Avi Cohen, Ra’anana’s co-manager said: "Jaffa wanted the game more than we did. We had a strong team, but lost our momentum which is not like us.
"We look forward to a strong and tight battle for the league with Jerusalem and Jaffa."
Eyal Hoffman, Jaffa's midfield maestro, said: "We were struggling earlier this season, but we're finally coming back into form now that Simon Berkley [Jaffa manager] lets me play in my favored position!"