HALEDON, N.J. – On a brisk Sunday in Passaic County, the boys in blue turned in one of their greatest performances this season coming from 2-0 down to win 3-2. Conditions at Roe Street Field seemed to favor the home side as the visitors had trouble getting a rhythm going early in the match.
With the absences of Malik Malik and Omry Lifschitz, Dov Glickman started newly acquired defender, Niv Nahar. This marked the first time that Hakoah fielded a son-father duo on the pitch. The first half provided a lot of back and forth play with Sjur Gundersen going into the referees book early in the first half. Both teams battled hard in what was a physical match overall. With the match at a deadlock, Glickman brought his troops into the dugout for his halftime team talk.
With Gundersen out of the line-up for the second half, defender Phil Robinson filled defensive midfield duties and provided vocal support for Glickman on the pitch. Moments later, a mistimed run in the penalty area put Hakoah down 1-0. Not long after, ADIGHA doubled their lead.
With plenty of time to play still in the second half, Hakoah did not give up. They played even more determined and in the 75th minute it played dividends as Phil Robinson found Michel Asayag who made no mistake in putting it past the keeper. The boys kept pushing for an equalizer and eleven minutes later, striker Saeed Sulemana-Baba was brought down from behind in the penalty area. Sulemana-Baba made no mistake and slotted the ball into the side netting equalizing for Hakoah.
With the tide turning, the boys were not ready to slow down the pace. Pushing for a match winner, the defense stayed tight and composed on every ADIGHA counter attack and provided service to the attack which tried to counter. In the waning minutes of the match, Saeed-sanity continued. Harel Nahar stepped up to take a corner kick. Sulemana-Baba yelled for the short corner. Nahar fed Sulemana-Baba the ball just outside the area. Beating one defender, Sulemana-Baba faked a shot and passed another defender before slotting the ball to the far post back of the net.
Minutes later the referee looked at his watch and blew the final whistle. Hakoah had gotten a well deserved result and cushioned their lead above ADIGHA in the standings going into the winter break. Speaking to Israeli media after the game, chairman Murat Zincir was ecstatic calling the match one of the best he had ever seen.
ADG -- unknown
ADG -- unknown
SCH -- Asayag (Robinson) 75
SCH -- Sulemana-Baba (penalty kick) 86
SCH -- Sulemana-Baba (H. Nahar) 88
SCH -- Gundersen (caution; Reckless Foul)
ADG -- unknown (caution; Serious Foul Play)
Time of Game: 1 hour and 28 minutes
Weather: Sunny and 38 degrees