11’ ⚽️ 0-1, Shikma Hen goal
17’ ⚽️ 0-2, Shikma Hen goal 27’ ⚽️ 0-3, Shikma Hen goal
65’ ⚽️ 1-3, Nadav Izmirli goal, Yuval Levi assist
Top row (from left to right): Daniel Cabral, Faris Abdulrasul, Ricky Horvath, Gaston Hilman, Eli Falkon, Azanao Aristo, Andre Walker, Ron Sharifi, Vlad Kart, Ron Sharifi, Roey Sartov, Leo Gewertz, David Martane and Gabo Terkieltaub.
Bottom row (from left to right): Nadav Izmirli, Yuval Levi, Andy Gabay, Ariel Peretz, Beni Polnauer, Sam Sank, Nico Perge, Ilan Flax, Tal Amar, Evgeny Kart and Evyatar Erez.
Our attempts to reach the playoffs and have a chance of being promoted to Liga Bet was effectively decided on Friday. Unfortunately, the home defeat to Shikma Hen meant that our opponents will almost certainly finish in 2nd place and take our spot in the playoffs.
An incredible turnout from our beloved supporters filled the stands at our home pitch in Jaffa, in what was arguably the biggest game in the history of our five seasons in Liga Gimmel.
However, despite the support and the recent good form, a total collapse inside the first 30 minutes ended all hopes of coming away with three points. Coach David Martane stuck with the 5-2-3 formation that we've adopted in recent weeks but the bolstered backline was in disarray in the opening half an hour.
Three relatively quickfire goals left our team and the army of supporters in shock, as we suddenly found ourselves with a mountain to climb. All three goals saw our defence fail to deal with the powerful Shikma front line and a lack of responsibility at the back was ultimately to blame as we conceded more goals in a single half than we had done in any full game until this point.
At half time, David was understandably fuming with the team's performance and urged the players to go all-out attack for the final 45 minutes. The second half was played almost entirely in the Shikma half but we only managed to beat their keeper on one occasion.
A cross-field ball from Yuval Levi found substitute Nadav Izmirli, who from the right-back position moved forward to unleash an absolute screamer into the top corner. The crowd erupted and there seemed a inkling of hope for an unlikely turnaround, but Shikma professionally saw the game out, despite having their goalkeeper sent off late on for a headbutt.
Friday's defeat means we'll likely finish in 3rd place, irrelevant of our final two games' outcome, missing out on the promotion playoffs.