Hamilton FX Olim League review: September 23
Last season’s champions Jerusalem started off the new season with a hard fought 6-4 away win against a much-improved Modi’in side.
The opening 15 minutes were very evenly matched with neither side posing any great threat.
The deadlock was broken on 19 minutes, when Calev Ben-Dor was quickest to despatch a low cross to drill the ball into the back of the net.
A minute later and Jerusalem found themselves 2-0 to the good thanks to a well-taken strike from debutant Akiva Zneimer.
With the fans expecting a deluge of goals from the champions, it was the home side that turned the match on its head in a 13-minute period, where they controlled possession and converted all four of their chances on goal.
Amichai pulled one back on 32 minutes, followed by Matan Kroizer equalising in the 38th minute. Two minutes later, Amichai scored his second and Modi'in's third with a wonder strike from about 25 yards (an early contender for goal of the season). And on the stroke of half time, Tai Kovler put Modi’in 4-2 up with another pile-driver from outside the box, to leave the defending champions stunned into silence at the break.
At half time, Jerusalem regrouped and after making a couple of tactical changes slowly got to grips with the game, ultimately dominating the second half.
In the 53rd minute, a perfectly weighted free-kick from Jason Lurie picked out Lolu Hibbert, who converted past Daniel Rose in the Modi’in goal.
After Misa Guarneros hit the bar, Jerusalem finally got back on level terms on the hour. Avi Korman, another new signing, drove in the equaliser from a corner.
Two minutes later, and Jerusalem were back in front. A superbly executed free-kick from Misa found the top left-hand corner.
The next 20 minutes was all Jerusalem. With the clock ticking down, Modi’in threatened a late equaliser with a couple of half chances from a corner, however it was Zneimer who put the icing on his debut by claiming his second and Jerusalem’s sixth, with the last kick off the game.
Modiin: Daniel Rose: Adam Bruce, David Bruce, Martin Lange, Naftali Broder; Ilan Shmueli, Matan Kroizer, Amichai, Gal Baton; Sharon Attias, David Zackon Subs: Tai Kovler, Gary Bloch, Jason Pearlman, Benni
Jerusalem: Francisco Salgado; Yoel Finchas, Natan Wiesenberg, Dan Kosky (capt), Jason Lurie; David Preston, Avi Korman, Lolu Hibbert, Calev Ben-Dor; Eli Warner, Akiva Zneimer. Subs: Jose ‘Misa’ Misael Garcia Guarneros, Simi Hibbert, Ben Rosen, Chaim Finn, Danny Newman
ENGLAND 3 ASHDOD 1
Last year's runner-up England made a winning start, with experience proving key against a new-look team Ashdod.
Managers Yoel and Marco put faith in the kids with many youthful players taking the field for the visitors.
England came out the blocks fast and tested the Ashdod keeper with a few good crosses and long shots, with David Flo going close twice and rattling the bar from a free kick and Roy Bihi also getting in behind the Ashdod back four but couldn't beat the keeper.
Fifteen minutes in and the pressure told when Roy stole the ball and laid it off to David who from 20 yards left footed a belter into the corner making it a dream debut for the Nigerian.
The kids from Ashdod did not let their heads drop and tried to play some good football. They equalised on the brak when a ball over the top was fired home with their first real attack of the match.
England were still playing the football they are renowned for, with Motti Colman and Tal Stern both trying to thread balls through to Roy and Yoni Sidi. On the half hour mark Motti found himself in space after a flowing move and held the ball perfectly as he waited for Yuval Rupin's perfect run and laid it through and all was left was for Yuval to curl it in from 10 yards to give England the lead at half time.
The second half was dominated by the home team with chances being squandered by Yoni, Yuval, Roy and David as well as a disallowed goal, but then a moment or pure class saw Yuval turn provider as he fed a perfect ball through to Colman who ran through and beat Ashdod defender several times on his way through and then placed a perfect shot into the corner to make it 3-1 to England.
England manager Yoni Sidi said: "Today we were great from top to bottom. We chased everything down and played some great football.
"It is the same core as last season and having Josh Hantman back from injury is like having a new star signing. His performance today was one of the best I have seen in my 10 years here. He wears his heart on his sleeve and lead by example.
"It just the start - we have a long way to go but very happy with how we looked tonight"
Jerusalem 6 Modiin 4
England 3 Ashdod 1
Aviv City 2 FC Anglia 2