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1996/97 Championship Games
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September-October 1996


Beitar Fails to break Bnei-Yehuda Vault - 0:0 in Teddy

October 26th 1996 - From Shmulik Levy's failure to score on the 10th minute, to Istvan Salloi's ball to the post on the 90th minute, the 9000 spectators who came to Teddy today saw an anemic Beitar Jerusalem lose two more league points. Bnei-Yehuda had their share of scoring chances, but careless kicks and the vigilance of Itsik Kornfein took care of that side of the field. Beitar's strikers were kept away from the Orange team's goal most of the game by a tight and (legitimately) aggressive defense, but the main reason for the null score was a combination of occasionally selfish and mostly inaccurate play by 3 key midfield players - Itsik Zohar, Istvan Pisont and David Amsalem. Another player whose performance left a lot to be desired was Yossi Abuxis, who has yet to cope with the fact that he is no longer Beitar's play-maker. The game debuted Asi Domb in the forward defender position, replacing Ehud Kahila. Domb played aggressively, and was booked with a yellow card on the 40th minute, after which his play became more controlled but no less effective. Bnei-Yehuda'a striker, Alon "Airplane" Mizrahi, had one chance in the second half, when he found himself 4 meters from Kornfein's right post but shot the ball to the goalkeeper's foot. Apart from this event he was successfully neutralized by Domb. On the 80th minute he was replaced, and took this decision rather traumatically, slamming the captain's arm-band to the floor in front of his coach, Yaakov Grundman. Beitar had several chances to score: The first was on the 10th minute, when Zohar found Shmulik Levy free on the right wing and passed him a ball that could have turned into a goal - had Shmulik decided to shoot. Instead, Levy's pass to Ohana was intercepted by Liran Schtrauber, the goalkeeper. On the 42 minute, Eli Ohana shook off his defender, positioned himself in the 16 box and shot the ball close enough for Schtrauber to deflect. Also in the first half - a free kick by Zohar was barely deflected by the goalie. The second half witnessed some bad luck for Salloi, as his header went just over the post, and his kick on the 90th minute was offset to the post by the goalkeeper. Yaakov Ben-Hamo refereed and made no cardinal mistakes, while his linemen carried on the poor performance which is customary for this profession in Israel.

Beitar Barely Beats Zafririm Holon

Boring 1:0 in Ramat-Gan stadium

October 19th 1996 - Beitar Jerusalem came close to losing two precious league points when, on the game's 90th minute, Haim Yirmeyahoo of Hapoel Zafririm Holon shot the ball within a few centimeters of Kornfein's left-hand goal post. Following an Eli Ohana goal in the 22nd minute, Beitar continued to dominate the game for the remainder of the first half, but opened the second one so apathetically that it seemed a Zafririm goal was only a matter of time. With Amsalem (red card) and Shmulik Levy (injury) missing from the squad, coach Eli Cohen tried Assi Domb as a midfielder and Jean Talesnikov in the left-wing position. This roster did not seem to work out for Beitar, and the Holon players found themselved several times during the second half of the game in attractive shooting positions, which were mostly missed, and occasionally stopped by Itsik Kornfein. Ohana managed to miss a 102% goal opportunity during extra-time before the referee, Haim Yaakov, blew the whistle and ended the game. Beitar's players' exit was accompanied by their supporters' loud boo's and sneers.

Beitar and Maccabi Tel Aviv Stage Season's Best Game Yet

Dramatic 3:3 in Ramat-Gan stadium, Itsik Zohar shines against his former team

October 12th 1996 - Beitar Jerusalem was 8 minutes away from beating Maccabi Tel Aviv on its home turf. After trailing 0:1, leading 2:1 and 3:2, Beitar conceded a goal through a penalty kick, after Ehud Kahila touched the ball with his hand while trying to block an Eli Drix header. Avi Nimni, who scored Maccabi's second goal on the 42nd minute, drove the penalty kick home, rounding up the result to a dramatic 3:3. Beitar's disappointment was aggravated by the expulsion of David Amsalem, who lashed out (verbally) at referee Dani Koren after the latter gave him a yellow card. The final 5 minutes, during which Beitar played with 10 players, were nerve-wracking for its fans, most of which would have been initially happy with the idea of a tied score against Maccabi Tel Aviv in Ramat-Gan. Maccabi took the lead on the 22nd minute, after Avi Nimni danced his way in the Jeruslem box, left Itsik Kornfeinbehind and lost the ball to Sergei Tritiak. The ball was then deflected to Nir Sevilia, who hammered it in to score what seemed to be the beginning of a landslide victory for Maccabi. Up until that minute, and even after the goal, Maccabi had a clear advantage, dictating the tempo and style of the game on both halves of the court. On the 31st minute, Istvan Pisont sent a brilliant pass throught the Maccabi defense line, leaving Ronen Harazi free to run past Maccabi's goal keeper, Alexander Uvarov. A well staged fall convinced Dani Koren to award Beitar a penalty kick, which was turned into an equalized by Itsik Zohar - former Maccabi Tel Aviv superstar. 3 minutes later it was Zohar again, who drove a free kick into the left-hand corner of Uvarov's goal, putting Beitar on a 2:1 lead. Avi Nimni scored a magnificent field goal on the 42nd minute, with passive assistance from Beitar's defense. Harazi was replaced by Eitan Mizrahi before halftime, suffering from a injury in the left leg. The second half was better for Beitar, with several scoring positions, until Amsalem found Shaloi with a clever pass from near the corner post. Stefan leaped forward acrobatically and diverted the ball's course into Uvarov's goal. Amsalem had a chance to finish the game on the 76th minute after a brilliant pass from Ohana, but missed.

Ohana Hits 80th minute Impossible shot

Beitar Jerusalem - Maccabi Herzelia 1:0

In the fourth game for the 1996/97 season, Beitar Jerusalem beat Maccabi Herzelia 1:0 in a game that drew almost 10000 spectators to the Teddy stadium. Refereed by Amit Klein, the game was tense yet fair, with Beitar dominating the first half and gradually panicking in the second. Itsik Zohar nailed two free kicks to the goal posts in the first half, but other than this hampered Beitar's game by hanging on to the ball and obstructing the team's flanks game. Abuxis did not quite find his place in the field, and when replaced by Jean Talesnikov in the second half, headed straight for the shower rooms - a common token of anger among soccer players. It is probable that Abuxis' frustration was aggravated by Eli Cohen's statement in a local Jeruslam newspaper that "Abuxis' role is to make Itsik Zohar stand out". (More on the Abuxis-Zohar crisis here.)

Beitar beats Hapoel Beer-Sheva 3:1

September 21st 1996 - Ohana * 2 and Shaloy ensured a happy trip home for over 2500 Beitar fans who made their way to Beer Sheva fearing a game that would reveal the first dents in Beitar's armor. It was no secret that the weakest link in Beitar this year was the defense, and a fast and technical team like Hapoel Beer-Sheva seemed like a serious candidate for exposing our soft spot. Beitar opened the game with a series of attacks that demonstrated the skills of the midfielders but rarely ended in striking positions. On the 23rd minute, Stephan Shaloy collected a rebound from the Beer-Sheva defense, about 7 meters outside the right-hand side of the box, advanced a bit and drove a precise kick into Smadja's goal.

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Last updated November 27th 1996 [Field Map]
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