Football

'Yossi is the best ever,' says Avi Cohen

By Simon Griver, August 13, 2009

Exactly 30 years after becoming the first Israeli to play in England, a former Liverpool defender is looking forward with relish to the new Premier League season.

Today, Avi Cohen is the chairman of Israel’s Professional Footballers Association. He is tipping Liverpool to win the league title but admits he is biased by being an ardent Reds fan who wanting to see Yossi Benayoun crown his career with a trophy.

Cohen said: “I think Yossi has now become the most successful Israeli ever to play in England, or for that matter, anywhere in Europe.

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I’m bullish over Bulls, says Levy

August 13, 2009

Maccabi Haifa coach Elisha Levy believes his team has a strong chance of reaching the group stages of this season’s Champions League after being drawn against five-time Austrian league winners Red Bull Salzburg in the knockout round.

Having squeezed through the third qualifying round, courtesy of a 4-3 win over FC Aktobe, Haifa will have home advantage in the second leg.

“I think we have a good chance of advancing,” said Levy. “It’s an advantage to be playing the second leg at home. We will give our all to reach the group stage.”

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Dudu keeps the faith

By Danny Caro, August 13, 2009

Dudu Awat believes that Israel must treat their four remaining World Cup qualifiers like cup finals to stand a chance of qualifying for next year’s competition in South Africa.

The keeper, in Belfast this week for Israel’s lacklustre 1-1 draw against Northern Ireland, admitted that there is no room for error if the team is to keep their hopes alive — while still depending on other results going their way.

“We have four games left and if we win them all we have a chance”, said Awat, 31. “We can do it. As long as we have a chance, we’ll keep fighting.”

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Israel make their point in Belfast

By Danny Caro in Belfast, August 13, 2009

A first-half strike from Elyaniv Barda earned Israel a draw following an encouraging performance in an international friendly against Northern Ireland at Windsor Park.

Ahead of next month's World Cup qualifying double-header against Latvia and Luxembourg, Israel boss Dror Kashtan saw his squad performing for the first time in four months.

Going into the match, Israel had not beaten their opponents in six previous meetings.

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Haifa draw Salzburg in Champions League

By Danny Caro, August 7, 2009

Maccabi Haifa will play Austrians Salzburg for a place in the group phase in this season’s Champions League.

Having beaten FC Aktobe 4-3 on Wednesday, the Israeli champions will battle it out for bumper pay day as they look to make the group stages for the first time since 2002.

The ties will be played on August 18/19 with the second leg August 25/26.

In the Europa League, Hapoel Tel Aviv will play FK Teplice in the playoff round. Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv have it all to do against PSV Eindhoven.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE KNOCK OUT ROUND DRAW IN FULL

Champions route

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Israeli clubs progress in Europa Cup

By Danny Caro, August 7, 2009

Hapoel Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda reached the playoff stage of the Europa Cup after coming through respective third qualifying round ties on Thursday.

Leading 3-1 from the away leg against IFK Gothenberg, Hapoel drew 1-1 at the Bloomfield Stadium.

Israeli international Michael Zandberg put Hapoel ahead in the 14th minute. Hannes Stiller hauled the Swedes level on the night but the two-time Uefa Cup winners never threatened to overhaul Hapoel’s aggregate lead.

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Israel name squad for UK trip

By Simon Griver, August 6, 2009

Israel manager Dror Kashtan has named a 24-man squad for a summer training camp ahead of next week’s friendly international against Northern Ireland in Belfast.

Arriving in the UK on Friday, Hapoel Tel Aviv striker Itay Schechter, who was in the starting line-up for Israel's last game against Greece, has been omitted.

The squad includes Israel's Premier League stars, captain Yossi Benayoun, Tamir Cohen and Tal Ben Haim, who has returned to Man. City after a loan spell with Sunderland.

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GB starlet Scott on the move

By Danny Caro, August 6, 2009

Team GB footballer Scott Shulton is joining Blue Square Premier Ebbsfleet United.

A star of the recently concluded Maccabiah Games, Shulton, 19, was set to sign a one-year contract yesterday, after being released by Wycombe Wanderers. He was at Wycombe for seven years following a two-year spell at Watford.

Shulton said: “I see it as a step across rather than down as I will have more of a chance to get regular first-team action. I wanted to stay in full-time football and want to keep improving every day.

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Wingate two good for Hendon

By Paul Lerman, August 5, 2009

Wingate & Finchley defeated neighbours Hendon 2-0 in a pre-season on Tuesday night.

Hendon dominated the early stages without actually creating any chances, but it was Wingate & Finchley who took the lead with a fantastic goal. Good work from Ola Williams allowed Leon Nelson to turn and shoot into the left corner.

Hendon's best chance came through a header from James Bent. Towards the end of the half they resorted to a few long range shots although they all failed to hit the target, the best effort coming from Kevin Maclaren.

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Comeback kings Haifa through to playoff round

By Danny Caro, August 5, 2009

Maccabi Haifa produced a sensational comeback to book their place in the Champions League playoff round after overturning a three-goal deficit in a 4-3 win over FK Aktobe.

Having drawn 0-0 in Kazakhstan last week, Haifa found themselves 3-0 down inside 15 minutes of the second leg at Kiryat Eliezer.

Former West Ham star Yaniv Katan, the Haifa captain, started the fightback. Eyal Golasa made it 2-3 in the 32nd minute, in a game where Haifa had four players booked.

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