Top row (from left to right): Sam Sank, Uriel Benita, Gato Schwalb, Misha Marianoff, Mati Yelen, Martin Siber, Mati Jurfest, Niv Gittelman, Nico Grinberg, Tom Printac, Gabi Bruck and Zequi Lubocki.
Bottom row (from left to right): Kevin Packer, David Salem, Ehud Eblagon, Nico Milieris, Max Russell, Nacho Duek and Didi Hovav.
Saturday's game between Inter Blue and FC USSR was quite even. Overall, we didn’t quite find a good flow to the match and had difficulty unlocking a decent and physically strong opponent.
Going forward in the first half, we often tried looking for balls in behind to Misha Marianoff and Tom Printac. We did have some success with that tactic, with Nacho Duek finding himself at the end of a cross in the box in the 8th minute. Nacho controlled well, but unfortunately, the shot was not on target.
After that, USSR, which is a very physically strong team, was able to deal with our balls over the top quite well. At times, we were able to link up well and create opportunities but did not cause much danger to the opponent.
Our opponents were not able to link up and penetrate our defensive line. Rather, at times, they found success with the balls over the top or on the wing. Generally, our defensive line was organized and recovered well if they did get through.
Goalkeeper Gato Schwalb performed well coming up with a save, reading the play or intercepting the ball before their strikers could get on the end of the long passes.
The second half was a somewhat similar affair. We did well to move away from so many long balls and managed to play more to feet. Many times throughout the second half we did find success down the wings and with crosses into the box, especially in the last 20 minutes or so.
We also looked dangerous in set-pieces through the half, with Niv Gittelman, in particular, finding himself at the end of several corner kicks but unable to convert.
On their end, they did have a few chances themselves as well throughout the half, especially in transition. However, when they created dangerous opportunities, either the defence or Gato, who did not have a very busy afternoon, made the saves to ensure we kept a clean sheet.
At the very end of the game, we nearly got ourselves the three points, but it was not to be. Nacho found himself with the ball in the final third and put a through ball to Misha. Misha found himself one on one with the keeper; he took a few touches and shot to put it past the keeper, but he made a good save and kept it at 0-0.
In conclusion, this was a game that offensively proved difficult for us to sort out. However, on a very positive note, this was our second game in a row with a clean sheet. In defence, every player put in a tremendous amount of work and ran till the very last minute to keep the ball out of our net.