Hap­less Hapoel flag on the big stage

The Jewish Chronicle - - Sport - BY SI­MON GRIVER


Un­der-fire Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Guy Lu­zon was given a stay of ex­e­cu­tion as last Thurs­day’s 2-0 de­feat against Spurs was soon forgotten af­ter the team claimed its first suc­cess in the Is­raeli Pre­miere Di­vi­sion.

An 81st-minute strike from Brazil­ian Fabio Ju­nior earned Hapoel vic­tory in the Tel Aviv derby as they beat fel­low strug­glers Mac­cabi 1-0.

The Euro­pean match against Spurs, played in front of a small crowd af­ter Hapoel tre­bled ticket prices, was more akin to men against boys as Juande Ramos’ troops cruised to vic­tory with strikes from Rob­bie Keane and Dmi­tar Ber­ba­tov. Record sign­ing Dar­ren Bent was de­nied a third by the post.

Hapoel, who were un­beaten in their pre­vi­ous six matches in Europe, fin­ished with 10 men af­ter Gal Shish earned a sec­ond book­ing af­ter just 50 min­utes. Home fans, al­ready un­happy with the in­flated ticket prices, tar­geted chair­man Moni Harel and Lu­zon for ver­bal abuse through­out with a sec­tion of the crowd chant­ing “son of a bitch” in his di­rec­tion.

While there was a full 16,000 house for the Tel Aviv derby, only 11,000 fans showed for the Spurs match. Harel had no re­grets about the price hike for the tie. “I know Spurs are go­ing through a dif­fi­cult time too,” he said.

“But they were top qual­ity Euro­pean op­po­si­tion and we were jus­ti­fied in rais­ing prices. Of course I am dis­ap­pointed that we could not fill the sta­dium. I am also dis­ap­pointed that we lost to Spurs but our top pri­or­ity is pick­ing up points in the league and the win over Mac­cabi was more valu­able to us that the lux­ury of a win in Europe.”

Be­fore the match, Spurs took an of­fi­cial del­e­ga­tion, in­clud­ing direc­tors, to Yad Vashem. Sup­port­ers Trust chair­man Daniel Wynne layed a wreath.

Spurs striker Dmi­tar Ber­ba­tov, who scored the sec­ond, holds off Gal Shish at the Bloom­field Sta­dium


Ber­ba­tov ( top) cel­e­brates his goal with Rob­bie Keane, ( be­low) Spurs fans fail to fill the ter­races and a Spurs del­e­ga­tion lay a wreath at Yad Vashem

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