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Shikma Hen 1-3 Inter Aliyah: Mature Performance Over Close Rivals Kickstarts Season

‘24 ⚽️ 1-0 Ilan Flax, Evyatar Erez assist

‘28 ⚽️ 1-1 Shikma Hen

‘81 ⚽️ 2-1 Ron Sharifi, Nico Perge assist

'90 ⚽️ 3-1 Ron Sharifi, Yuval Levi assist

Top row (from left to right): Gabo Terkieltaub, Gaston Hilman, Eli Falkon, Ron Sharifi, Yuval Levi, Roey Sartov, Dandy Okougo, Niv Pak, Evgeny Kart, Azanao Aristo, Faris Abdulrasul, Evyatar Erez and David Martane.

Bottom row (from left to right): Jaime Kauffman, Andy Gabat, Nico Perge, Sam Sank, Beni Polnauer, Vlad Kart, Ilan Flax, Nadav Izmirili and Daniel Cabral.

We're most certainly not getting carried away by Friday's win over close rivals Shikma Hen, however, the nature of the victory combined with the circumstances of the league table are both very good signs indeed.

Having lost to the runaway leaders Machtesh Givatayim in the season opener, a defeat against Shikma Hen this weekend would have put our promotion aspirations in serious doubt. To add to the pressure of the game, it was our first match back after two months of lockdown, so all eyes were on the Ramat Gan Stadium.

We came out the first half and controlled the game against the opposition who have consistently competed at the top of Liga Gimmel for the last few seasons. Tactics that Head Coach David Martane had worked on for the last few weeks were coming into fruition already and the free-flowing football and organised defensive shape gave us the freedom to express ourselves.

A lot of our success in the first half was coming down the right and the game's breakthrough was no different. Vlad Kart won the ball in Shukma's half and released Evyatar Erez, who beat his man and crossed a beautiful ball into the box with his unfavoured right foot. Out of nowhere, flying in from the left-back position, Ilan Flax was there to head the ball into the corner and grab his first for the club.

Shikma hit the bar at one stage but we were holding them at bay quite confidently, yet, just four minutes after our goal they had equalised, with a questionable offside decision not being called and their start striker smashing the ball home.

At half-time, David encouraged the boys to carry on as they had been and it was clear that our superior match fitness was starting to take effect as multiple chances came for us in the second half. As the game drew to its big finale, our substitutes proved their worth as Nico Perge's cross was met by Ron Sharifi, who headed the ball into the net before the keeper could grab it.

As the Inter bench exploded in the hope that victory was in touching distance, keeper Tal Amar made a phenomenal save from their striker tipping the powerful shot onto the bar, before the ball bounced out and away. The win was sealed in the final minute, with Yuval Levi feeding Ron to confidently beat his man and guide the ball into the corner of the goal.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest statements we've ever made in Liga Gimmel and the chance of promotion is a possibility and entirely in our hands.

Vamos Inter #COYI


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