TEANECK, N.J. – On a brisk October evening, the boys in blue took on the higher seeded Ramapo F.C. of the NJSL's top division. Manager Dov Glickman nearly had a full complement of players with just the absences of Mike Cabal, Eyal Yechezkell, Jared Hoch and the injured Omry Lifschitz to deal with. With this in mind, Glickman strutted out his line up:
A relaxed tempo saw both sides playing safe football, trying not to overcommit and make mistakes. Five minutes into the match, Hakoah was put on the back foot after a poor clearance was driven at goal took a deflection and went past Nazarov. 1-0 to Ramapo.
Knowing that opportunities would come, Hakoah played smart, possession based football. Sjur Gundersen controlled the midfield while Jonah Silk made terrific runs forward and tracked back for every counter attack. The first half also saw the debut of Saah Hali who replaced Michel Asayag at forward. Midfielder Jonah Silk smoothly dribbled into the area on the left side and tried to curl the ball around the 'keeper while the onrushing Hali was unable to latch on. Opportunities for Gundersen and Baba were plentiful but the final pass alluded the blues. 1-0 to Ramapo at the half.
With a rested Asayag, Hakoah started the second half with their opening line-up. Finally, in the 50th minute, Hakoah came back. Michel Asayag broke loose with the ball and found Saeed Baba who dribbled past his defender and put it past the goalkeeper. With the run of playing going Hakoah's way, they were caught on the quick Ramapo counter attack and soon gave the lead to Ramapo. Soon after, Baba turned provider and supplied Asayag with a great ball to put him through on net. The game was now tied at 2's.
A misjudged bouncing ball caught Josh Pransky off guard and the quick counter attack left Hakoah on the wrong side of the result again as Ramapo made no mess of their one on one with Aleksey Nazarov. But it wasn't meant to be as a defensive blunder by the Ramapo back line went punished by Michel Asayag who controlled the ball and went in on goal. The game was locked at 3-3.
Two short extra time periods later and with the scored tied, penalty kicks had to be played quickly. Ramapo stepped up first and scored. Then Sjur Gundersen stepped up and made no mistake, drawing the teams level. Up stepped the next Ramapo player. Aleksey Nazarov pulled off a huge kick save. Harel Nahar made no mistake and then gave Hakoah the lead. Up stepped the next penalty taker for Ramapo who beat Nazarov. With Hakoah up next, the flood lights turned off at University Stadium. No matter the decision of the league, Hakoah played a fantastic match and the future looks bright with the addition of Casey Mitton. The boys go on the road next for their NJ Open Cup match against South Plainfield Roma S.C.
RFC -- Unknown
SCH -- Michel Asayag 1 (Saeed Baba 1)
RFC -- Unknown
SCH -- Saeed Baba 1 (Michel Asayag 1)
RFC -- Unknown
SCH -- Michel Asayag 2 (Unassisted)
SCH -- Mathieu Gouverneur