‘38 ⚽ 0-1 Shikun goal
’53 ⚽ 1-1 Evgeny Kart goal, Vlad Kart assist
‘63 ⚽ 1-2 Shikun goal
'72 ⚽ 2-2 Ron Sharifi goal
'81 🟥 Red Card Shikun
‘90 ⚽ 2-3 Shikun goal
Top row (from left to right): Eli Falkon, Ricky Horvath, Dandy Okougo, Ron Sharifi, Daniel Herszenhaut, Vlad Kart, Andy Gabay, Evgeny Kart, Daniel Cabral, Gianni Conti, Nadav Izmirli and Maurizio Patti
Bottom row (from left to right): Yoav Ben Gur, Mono Bechini, Ariel Peretz, Fernando Zatz, Beni Polnauer, Sam Sank, Allan Camarov, Guile Meyer, Gaston Hilman Fratesi and Jaime Kauffman.
Our winning drought against Shikun Vatikim Ramat Gan entered its sixth year after a late winner succumbed us to defeat in our second league game of the season.
Eli Falkon, continuing in his role as interim Head Coach, was able to call on a slightly bigger squad compared to last weeks season opener but injuries and absentees remain widespread. Nonetheless, a strong starting lineup included the return of Dandy Okougo in central defence while Guile Meyer made his first start for the club.
The opening period was well balanced as both teams adjusted to the hot conditions and tried to test each other. Shikun, who made the Liga Gimmel playoff finals last year, were threatening down the left side giving Mono Bechini and Nadav Izmirli problems early on.
A free-kick won on the left was not defended well by the Inter defence and Shikun went into the lead with a header halfway through the first half. We were struggling to find our rhythm and long-range efforts from Guile, Ron Sharifi and Yoav Ben Gur failed to find the target. Two massive chances fell to Fernando Zatz as the first half reached its finale, but the Shikun goalkeeper matched the Brazilian at every turn, making a fantastic save from Fer’s header.
At halftime, Eli changed to a back three and the adjustment had an immediate effect. We started to dominate the play and just like last week, really hit our stride after the halftime break. The equaliser came shortly after, once again it was the twins Vlad and Evgeny Kart combining well with the latter scoring his second goal in as many games.
Yet, Shikun again took the lead. A contentious foul from Sam Sank outside the box allowed our opponents with a dangerous attempt on goal, which was executed to perfection, leaving Gianni Conti no chance in the goal.
Going behind again seemed to spur on the team and chances came galore with the Shikun keeper delivering a man of the match performance to keep us at a bay.
However, he could do nothing about Ron Sharifi’s late shot to level the scores and the keeper was equally frozen when Ron hit the post shortly after as we looked to win the game.
Unfortunately, though, Liga Gimmel can be a cruel football environment and within 5 minutes the game turned on its head. First, the Shikun centre back was shown a straight red card after denying a goal-scoring opportunity, fouling Vlad as the last man. Then, the 10 men of Shikun scored in the final minutes of the game from their third set piece of the afternoon.
A hugely disappointing way to end the game and we deserved much more, but another learning experience in the league. Lots of positives to take from this competitive game against one of the division’s better teams and we look forward to our first full week of training in a month.