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Hakoah Staff - November 15, 2012
TEANECK, N.J. – Two newly promoted sides vying for first place faced off on Sunday, November 11 at University Stadium, but it was the referee who garnered much of the attention. Ultimately, the disputed calls and unlucky breaks evened out, and the match ended deadlocked at 3-3, but both teams left the field feeling they might have taken all three.
Fittingly, after a subdued start to the match, the first real chance resulted from a controversial decision, as the referee awarded a free kick on the edge of Hakoah's area in the 10th minute after a phantom foul. Hungaria's midfield dynamo Torok lined up the kick and just missed the target with his attempt, banging it off the crossbar and out for a goal kick. A whistle also figured in Hakoah's response two minutes later. Michel Asayag slotted the ball past the goalkeeper at the other end but has his effort ruled out for offside.
Real misfortune struck for Hakoah in the 28th minute, when Hungaria's #24 struck a speculative low shot from distance that caromed off of Hakoah's Mathieu Gouverneur's outstretched leg and into the goal to give the visitors the lead. The goal put an already tense Hakoah team under pressure, and the sky blues' mounting frustration was evident in the players' demeanor on the field. The low point came in the 37th minute, when a pesky Hungaria attacker fought his way past Mike Cabal to reach the endline and square the ball to the onrushing Torok, who was unaccounted for after making a late run through the box. Torok made no mistake with it, striking the ball first time into the top corner to give Hungaria a 2-0 advantage.
Each of the previous two confrontations between Hakoah and Hungaria had featured significant swings in momentum, and memories of the rapid collapse Hakoah experienced in last season's home leg were certainly awakened by Hungaria's two goal flurry. Happily for Hakoah, midfielder Phil Robinson picked the right moment to assert his leadership and help right what appeared to be a sinking ship. Robinson, who had moved into the center of the midfield from the left side after Hakoah struggled to maintain possession and complete passes in the early going, made a precise pass ahead to Sulemana-Baba. Sulemana-Baba's poise on the ball gave his strike partner Asayag time to race to the far post and tap the ball in to bring Hakoah back into the game.
With emotions still running high, Hakoah's halftime team talked focused more on the mental side of the game than any major tactical adjustments, but the sky blues did resolve to transition more rapidly into counterattacks using a more direct approach. That strategy paid quick dividends, as Sulemana-Baba and Asyag were able to play a one-two combination that sent Hakoah's leading scorer in to grab a second goal for the home team in the 53rd. The goal, however, only trimmed the deficit to 3-2 as Hungaria had converted a penalty kick awarded shortly after halftime when Gouverneur brought down an opposing attacker after their feet became entangled. Torok's low shot just got underneath Carlos Canizales, who had guessed correctly but failed to make the stop.
Hakoah's second goal did seem to finally settle the home team, and with exception of a few set piece opportunities, Hakoah had most of the scoring chances. The always dangerous Sulemana-Baba had one of the best of those when Robinson played a perfectly weighted ball out of the back that Sulemana-Baba did well to control without breaking stride. He found a few yards of space, wound up, and blasted a ball toward the upper ninety that just spun wide. A breakthrough came in the 76th minute after the referee ruled that Hungaria's imposing keeper had fouled Sulemana-Baba inside the area. The decision triggered howls of protest from Hungaria and led to a long stoppage as the referee struggled to regain control of the match. After order was restored, Sulemana-Baba calmly deposited the ball in the back of the net to equalize.
Both sides came close to grabbing winners in the waning moments, with the best of the chances coming in the 90th minute when Canizales dove to his left to push aside a dangerous free kick that Torok managed to swing around Hakoah's wall. Five minutes of added time to make up for earlier disruptions did not suffice to determine a winner.
WH Gouverneur (og) 28th
WH Torok (unknown) 37th
SCH Asayag (Sulemana-Baba) 40th
WH Torok (pk) 48th
SCH Sulemana-Baba (Asayag) 53rd
SCH Sulemana-Baba (pk) 76th
SCH Brown (yellow, reckless tackle) 64th
WH #24 (red, dissent) 90th+
TEANECK, N.J. – The NJSL League Cup draw pitted Hakoah as the away team against NJ Division newcomers HFC Dragons in the opening round of this year's knockout tournament, but the sky blues displayed their home form in an impressive 5-1 win. No doubt this had something to do with the fact that the match was played in the familiar surroundings University Stadium in Teaneck.
Hakoah controlled the game by winning the midfield battle through the leadership of Phil Robinson, but it was the forward tandem of Jonah Silk and Saeed Sulemana-Baba and a very composed performance by the Hakoah backline that sealed the deal.
The forward line signaled its attacking intent early, as less than five minutes into the match, Silk floated a speculative ball into the middle that Sulemana-Baba managed to take down and fire at the goal, rattling the outside of the bar. The two had their first breakthrough by the 7th minute, when Silk's corner kick picked out Sulemana-Baba at the far post. The prolific striker volleyed the ball into the turf, and it bounded past the HFC goalkeeper to put Hakoah a goal ahead.
Unable to keep much possession in the center of the park,HFC attempted to utilize quick counterattacks down the flanks to get back into the game. Niv Nahar and Mike Cabal dealt with the threat ably, with help from center backs Mathieu Gouverneur and Eyal Yechezkell.
In the 40th minute, Cabal turned the tables on HFC, neatly dispossessing an opponent and launching a counterattack of his own. The Hakoah defender carried the ball out of his own half, and found space in front of him, and galloped down the field. As an HFC defender came forward to challenge, Cabal sprung Sulemana-Baba with a perfectly weighted ball that the striker calmly slid past the onrushing keeper to stretch the lead to two goals before halftime.
The second half started very similarly to the first half. First, in the 49th minute, Sulemana-Baba and Silk combined again to create a chance, and this time it was Silk whose attempt hit the post. HFC was a little less fortunate, however, as the rebound caromed off the goalkeeper and across the line to make it 3-0 for Hakoah.
Silk declined to rely on luck the next time Sulemana-Baba presented him with a prime goalscoring opportunity about a quarter hour later. He thundered a first time shot low and into the corner that gave the keeper no chance and the sky blues a comfortable 4-0 lead.
The one-sided scoreline did not prevent a bit of controversy. The referee issued several yellow cards and made his biggest mark on the game in the 67th minute, when he cautioned Hakoah goalkeeper Carlos Canizales and awarded a penalty kick after HFC's brawny #13 toppled over in the box. It appeared that he went to ground after the ball skittered away, robbing him of a scoring chance but the referee adjudged that Canizales had brought the player down. He converted the ensuing spot kick, preventing Canizales from recording the clean sheet but failing to turn the tide of the game.
Hakoah continued to press forward, and Lennox Brown nearly set up Sulemana-Baba for another goal with a defense splitting ball. The deflected shot trickled over the line but the referee ruled that Sulemana-Baba had shoved the defender who made a last ditch effort to clear the ball.
Sulemana-Baba managed to complete his hat trick several minutes later, capping the scoring with a nice individual effort to send Hakoah into the second round in convincing fashion..
A seesaw battle between two newly promoted sides ended with Hakoah on top at University Stadium on Sunday. Waldwick struck first, exploiting space on the flanks and attacking in numbers. After the ball was cut back to the middle, Waldwick's Mike Capone did well to slot the ball past the onrushing Alex Nazarov to give the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute.
Hakoah responded well, as both Saeed Sulemana-Baba and Jonah Silk forced good saves from the Waldwick goalkeeper in quick succession. The equalizer came soon after, as Michel Asayag finished a beautiful move. Silk's booming cross to switch the point of attack found Omry Lifschitz on the opposite flank. Lifschitz slipped past his marker, leaped, met the ball in the air and poked it forward into Asayag's path. The striker coolly swept the ball into the far corner and tied the match.
Asayag had two more opportunities as Hakoah continued to have the better of play and generate the majority of the chances, but a little luck and some strong goalkeeping kept the game even. In the 42nd minute, Asayag's left foot rocket struck the crossbar and bounced down on the wrong side of the goalline. Seconds before halftime, Sulemana-Baba sent Asayag in alone on the Waldwick goalkeeper, but the keeper did well did come out and deny him.
Both teams came out of the halftime break a little sluggish as the cool and wet conditions caused muscles to tighten, and sloppy play by Hakoah in its own half went unpunished as Hakoah goalkeeper Carlos Canizales and defender Mathieu Gouverneur rose to the occasion. Their defensive play bought enough time for Hakoah to put together another impressive scoring sequence.
In the 63rd minute, Phil Robinson drifted out to the right flank and whipped a dangerous cross into the box. Asayag came across the box, drawing defensive attention and allowing the ball to bounce onto Sulemana-Baba's lethal right foot. Sulemana-Baba made no mistake, powering it past the outstretched arms of the keeper to give Hakoah its first lead.
The sky blues' excitement was short-lived, however, as they failed to close down Waldwick captain Taylor Webber on a throw-in in the Hakoah half. Given time and space to settle the ball, Webber picked a corner and drove a low shot past the diving Canizales to even the game at two goals apiece with more than twenty minutes to play.
Hakoah's ability to move the ball through the center of the field improved in the second half with the insertion of Harel Nahar, and an attack through the middle of the field proved decisive. In the 71st minute, the ball was played forward to Asayag, who slid the ball to Sulemana-Baba, who spun past one defender and then found himself face to face with another. The defender made the mistake of giving ground, creating enough space for Hakoah's leading scorer to rip a hard toward the far post. The ball nestled into the corner of the net, restoring Hakoah's advantage and ultimately proving the game winner.
TEANECK, N.J. – Match report coming soon.
SCH -- Sulemana-Baba
VIK -- Unknown
SCH -- D. Glickman
SCH -- Sulemana-Baba
VIK -- Unknown (penalty kick)
TEANECK, N.J. – Hakoah New York announced today that it has released defender, Jake Weinberg.
Weinberg joined Hakoah on March 17. The former William Paterson product made his debut on March 25 against Real Wyckoff.
"We were disappointed to lose Jake ahead of the 2012/13 NJSL season but respect his decision to leave the club," said Ron Glickman. "He served the club well and was a key contributor in some crucial matches. The club will continue to look for replacements as we look to improve the squad moving forward. We wish Jake the best of luck in all his future endeavors."
TEANECK, N.J. – Hakoah started the new season on the right foot, defeating Oakland Strikers 4-1 at University Stadium on Sunday evening.
Saeed Sulemana-Baba led the way with three goals for the home side, the first coming less than two minutes after kickoff off of a pass from captain Harel Nahar. Nahar took advantage of Oakland's lax marking and rolled a pass to Sulemana-Baba that he slipped into the back of the net from a tough angle.
The striker nearly doubled the lead several minutes later, when he took on his marker and created enough space to fire a shot from distance toward the upper ninety. This time, however, the crossbar came to Oakland's rescue.
The sky blues were encouraged by the return of Sjur Gundersen to the midfield after a long injury layoff, and he nearly got on the scoresheet in the 18th minute. A powerfully struck goal kick by Mathieu Gouverneur sent Sulemana-Baba racing into the attacking third. He managed to control the ball and square it to the onrushing Gundersen whose first time attempt flew over the bar.
Hakoah did not have to wait too much longer for a second goal. In the 23rd minute, a quick one-two combination between Nahar and Sulemana-Baba sent the striker through on goal, and the Oakland goalkeeper got a glove on Sulemana-Baba's carefully placed shot but could not prevent the ball from going in.
On a day when Hakoah's defensive corps of Ofir Singal, Eyal Yechezkell, Mathieu Gouverneur and German Dubovis was in top form, a single costly mistake restored some balance to the game. Starting goalkeeper Alex Nazarov attempted to call off his defenders as he came out to claim a high bouncing ball, but when he did not immediately appear, Gouverneur nodded the ball back in his direction. Nazarov's momentum carried him past the ball and it bounded into the empty net to make it 2-1.
Disciplinary actions took center stage in the middle of the match, as players began to tire and play became a bit sloppier. In the 36th minute, Singal was cautioned for a late challenge that stopped an Oakland counterattack, and two minutes later Jonah Silk was shown a yellow for his forceful disagreement with a refereeing decision. The visitors earned a card of their own for a reckless tackle and a professional foul on either side of halftime.
The most consequential decision, however, came late in the second half when Silk found himself all alone with the ball at his feet in the attacking third and Oakland's keeper shot off his line to bring him down and deny a goalscoring opportunity. The referee walked slowly to the spot of the foul, reached into his pocket, and pulled out only a yellow card.
At that point, though, it was academic, as Silk had already helped the home side stretch its lead in the 61st minute with a precise cross from the wing that Sulemana-Baba settled and coolly slotted in. That goal seemed to reenergize Hakoah, and a flurry of chances followed. The combination of early season rust and strong play from the Oakland keeper kept Hakoah out of the net until the 81st minute, when Silk and debutant Zushye Kestenbaum were sent racing in on goal with a perfectly weighted pass from midfielder Casey Mitton. Silk opted to take the chance himself, rocketing the ball past the keeper to cap the scoring.
SCH -- Sulemana-Baba (Nahar) 2nd minute
SCH -- Sulemana-Baba (Nahar) 23rd minute
OAK -- own goal (Gouverneur) 28th minute
SCH -- Sulemana-Baba (Silk) 61st minute
SCH -- Silk (Mitton) 81st minute