Community Sports News

“Israel” Vs “Italy” – A special relationship through football

5 February 2018
Cape Town community event set to continue for many years to come as the bi-annual football match sees Jewish Community and Italian Community lock horns in a friendly match of football for the third time since 2016.

Maccabi Western Province kicked off 2018 with a friendly football match between the Jewish Community (playing as Israel) community and the mighty ‘’Azzurri’’, Italian community at the UCT  fields in Cape Town on 1 Feb 2018. The last time these two teams met, Israel came out narrow victors winning 4-3. The match was played at night , under the lights on a superb pitch and was well supported by friends & familoes of the two teams. Both teams were represented by members of their respective communities who play football  socially and/or at amateur club level.

The match started well for the Israeli side who went 1-0 up with a sublime 30 yard long range finish from Aron Freeman, smashing the ball to the top left hand post giving the Italian GK no chance stop stop the stunning shot. Shortly after the goal, Israel were forced into a substitution, with one of their center-backs having to leave the field due to injury. Despite the first half being dominated by the Italians, Israel managed to hold on and go into the break 1-0 up.

After the break, Team Israel were lead out by captain courageous, Daniel Serman, with the Italians relying heavily on their talisman and stalwart, Saverio Talotti for victory. The second half began at a blistering pace with the Italians pressing Israel and testing their defensive structure, but Israel dug deep and managed to keep the Italians at bay with a steady flow of “heart on sleeve” tackles. Israel were enjoying some well-deserved possession and 20 minutes into the second half, Israel’s right wing back, David Silverman received the ball deep in his own half, beat a few defenders, laid off the ball for a cross which was met by Ryan Smith who managed to time his run to perfection, slotting in the 2nd goal of the game and giving the Israeli’s a two goal cushion.

With only 5 minutes left on the clock, it was time for Israel to place some pressure on the Italians defence and doing so resulted in Israel winning a vital corner. The corner was perfectly whipped in by Ryan Smith and somehow found the knee of striker Benji Dadon who slotted home the third and final goal for the Israelis, sealing the match 3-0!

Despite the score line, it was a close game, with the Italians enjoying the majority of possession, but with Israel playing with a lot of passion and determination. The wining Israel captain, Daniel Serman had the following to say: “The competitive nature of this game, coupled with the fantastic friendship we have made off the field ensures that it is always a great game enjoyed by all.”

Ronen Cohen, (Maccabi WP Chairman) said: “The game was played in a fantastic spirit with intense pressure from both teams. Maccabi WP’s mandate as a community sports organisation extends beyond our own programme to also include interaction with other surrounding communities. This friendly contest between Jewish and Italian footballers was thoroughly enjoyed by all and served to highlight how much we all have in common.’’

Maccabi South Africa has shifted its focus from being a primarily “every 4 year Games” focused organization to providing a meaningful, relevant sports service for the whole Jewish community. ‘’This soccer match is just one of many recreational activities that Maccabi WP has planned to keep our community active and involved’’, added Cohen.

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