Ra’anana and Betar reach Toto final

By Danny Caro, January 14, 2010

Hapoel Ra’anana will face Betar Jerusalem in the final of Israel’s Toto Cup.

Ra’anana pulled off a major shock on Wednesday night, defeating league leaders Maccabi Haifa 3-2 at the Ramat Gan National Stadium.

They did it the hard way, coming from behind after Mohammad Ghadir had put last season’s league champions ahead. But a 45th minute penalty from Itai Tuef saw them go in level at the break.

Lior Rafaelov restored Haifa’s advantage on the hour but they held the lead for just two minutes as Ra’anana’s Davit Dighmelashvili equalised.


Neasden cup hopes hang in the balance

By Danny Caro, January 14, 2010

North West Neasden A’s hopes of becoming the first Jewish team to win five trophies look destined for failure after it emerged that they are close to pulling out of at least one competition to ease their fixture backlog.

The Maccabi League giants are three matches away from earning a place in the final of the prestigious Sunday FA Cup at Anfield and more than £2,000 in prize money.


Hapoel defender escaped Angolan terror attack

By Simon Griver, January 12, 2010

Emmanuel Mathias, Hapoel Petach Tikvah’s Togolese defender, escaped the Angolan terror attack due to a lucky twist of fate.

Mathias, 23, would have been on the team bus that was gunned down by terrorists - leaving three Togo officials dead and several others injured - last Friday, had it not been for a clerical mix-up.

Having made five appearances for Togo, Mathias was named in the squad for the African Nations Cup but he did not make the final squad because his Israeli club were notified after the deadline about his selection and refused to release him.


Hot on Roni

By Simon Griver, January 7, 2010

Fulham are targeting Finnish international Roni Porokara.

The winger had been expected to sign for Maccabi Haifa this month.

Born in Helsinki, Porokara, 26, moved to Sweden two years ago where he plays for Orebro in the Swedish top-flight. He has made nine appearances for Finland and scored two goals including a strike in Finland’s 2-1 win against Wales in a World Cup qualifier in October.



January 7, 2010

Ronny Levy, the former Maccabi Haifa, boss is relishing locking horns with Yossi Benayoun’s Liverpool after taking charge of Romanian champions Unirea Urziceni.

Levy, 43, replaces former Chelsea player Dan Petrescu and will spearhead Unirea’s Europa League’s challenge next month. He has signed an 18-month contract worth 450,000 Euros.


North West Neasden close call

By Danny Caro, January 7, 2010

North West Neasden A were given an almighty scare by Division Three side UJS Norstar A in the JC Cyril Anekstein Cup.

Last season’s double champions, who included Maccabiah star Matt Stock and Daniel Stanton, were expecting an easy run-out but they were taken to the wire by Phil Peters’ troops.

Going into the closing seconds, NWN led 5-4. Norstar missed a great chance and with that went their hopes of taking the match to extra time as NWN scored on the counter.


Maccabi boss: Don't abandon matches

By Danny Caro, January 7, 2010

The chairman of the JC Maccabi Southern Football League has pleaded with teams to ensure that the season is completed.

After another 12 matches fell victim to the weather last weekend, David Wolff described the situation as “a bit of a nightmare”. And in true Delia Smith style, he made an, albeit more measured, rallying call to players to postpone matches only as a last resort.


Gershfield helps Wingate and Finchley glory

By Paul Lerman, January 7, 2010

James Gershfield helped Wingate & Finchley put a bad week behind them with a thumping 4-0 victory over lowly Leyton in the Ryman League Division One North.

In a match dominated by the Blues, Gershfield, who came on at the start of the second half, scored one, hit the bar and terrorised the Leyton defence with a display that typified his Maccabiah Games selection last summer. He scored Wingate’s third with a sensational individual effort.


London Lions increase table lead after 5-1 win

January 7, 2010

London Lions reserves extended their lead at the top of the Herts Senior County League Reserve Division One with a 5-1 victory over Cuffley.

In one of only four matches played in the league, an excellent all-round team performance saw the Lions run out comfortable winners, although the match was closer than the scoreline suggests.

The Lions forged ahead when Nick Goodman galloped down the right. His driven cross was turned into his own goal, under pressure from the Jason Goldstein, by a Cuffley defender.


Israel manager under investigation for smuggling

By Simon Griver, January 6, 2010

Outgoing Israel manager Dror Kashtan is under investigation for smuggling tens of thousands of shekels worth of alcohol and cigarettes into Israel

A spokesman for Israel's Tax Authority has confirmed Kashtan was questioned today for the first time on the matter.

The alleged offences took place over several years on trips with the national team and on privately.

A Tax Authority spokesman said: “We cannot reveal details of the investigation but we can say that the investigation began some time ago and not today.