A month in and the JC Olim League in Israel is starting to take shape. Jerusalem kick-started their season with a well-deserved 3-2 victory over Aviv City at Tel Aviv University on Saturday night.
The capital city side had the better of the opening exchanges with Jonny Hadi and Ori Kobi dominating the middle of the park. But, it was Aviv City who opened the scoring halfway through the first period. Raz Bauer tool advantage of a goalkeeping error to put the home side one up. Jerusalem hit back though before the break, David Zackon lashing home a left-footed shot.
Jerusalem were quicker out of the blocks in the second half too and they got their noses in front when skipper Dave Preston hit a long-range effort past Aviv City's giant keeper. The home side restored parity when Roy Morik latched onto a loose ball to hit home. But Preston was on hand to double his tally with another goal from distance to send Jerusalem home victorious. This result keeps Aviv City FC routed at the bottom of the table with three defeats out of three games.
Further north, Netanya hosted Modiin in a tightly contested affair. Netanya got off to a quick start, but were mostly restricted to long range shots. The best chance of the half came from a Netanya corner, where a fine double save by Yanki Tajtelbaum kept Netanya at bay, before Modiin were able to clear their lines. Modiin slowly started to grow in confidence, stringing some neat passes together, but the first half ended goalless.
The Modiin troops came out for the 2nd half with a much more positive approach and quickly launched wave after wave of pressure against the Netanya defence. Chaim Finn and Ben King Scott both carved out shooting chances, but found it difficult to beat the excellent Netanya keeper.
The game's turning point came after an hour, with the introduction of Modiin midfielder Jamie Lazarus whose defence-splitting pass found Chaim Finn, who calmly turned and slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Netanya responded superbly and were back on level terms within five minutes from the penalty spot. With two minutes on the clock, and the match seemingly headed for a draw, Modiin launched one final attack. A long ball over the top caused confusion in the Netanya defence and the goalkeeper's attempted clearance was blocked by the back of Finn, who turned to see the ball fly into the roof of the net.
A second equaliser proved to be too much to ask of the hardworking Netanya side, and as the final whistle blew, the Modiin faithful were left to celebrate a hard-fought 2-1 victory, and the first three points of the season.
Next week sees the new Brazil team begin their campaign against a strong, undefeated Jaffa side.