Sunday, February 11, 2007

There's Only One Team in Israel

Jerusalem defeats Tel Aviv to capture first Anglo-Israel cup

TEL AVIV, Feb 11 (AP) - There were scenes of jubilation tonight at Tel Aviv's Kiryat Shalom stadium as the Jerusalem Anglo team stunned the favored Tel Aviv Anglo team in a dramatic penalty shootout to win the first ever Anglo-Israel cup. The first leg in Jerusalem had left the Tel Aviv team trailing 7-5, but a full size pitch would give the home team the chance it needed to overturn the deficit and win the cup. The game started off at a frantic pace, with Jerusalem taking an early lead through an own goal after some confusion in the Tel Aviv box. Tel Aviv picked up their game almost immediately and started dominating the play. Some fantastic defending by the defensive quartet of Dan Kosky, Seth Freedman, Ben Green & Danny Newman ensured the 3 goal cushion remained intact. However late in the first half, Tel Aviv's now famous 'Mr. Binky' scored on an easy tap in to level the scores. With the score tied 1-1 at half time, Tel Aviv would throw caution into the wind and attack Jerusalem's goal non-stop throughout the second half. The remaining 45 minutes were spent almost entirely in the Jerusalem half, and the constant pressure eventually paid off with two goals off corner kicks. A 3-1 full time score left the game tied at 8-8 on aggregate with a penalty shootout on the cards.

Tel Aviv won the coin flip and decided to kick first. Tel Aviv converted their first kick, and Jerusalem's imposing defensive midfielder, Raffy Wreschner, would tie the score by converting his kick. A mis-kick by Tel Aviv's next penalty taker would allow Jerusalem to take a lead through Danny Newman's successful spot kick. Tel Aviv's captain would then see his spot kick brilliantly saved by Avram Piha as he extended himself fully to his left to push the ball around the post. South African born striker Ari Rudolph would calmly dispose of his penalty giving the Jerusalem team a 3-1 lead. Tel Aviv would bury their next spot kick, leaving Seth Freedman, Jerusalem's bruising fullback, with the opportunity to win the cup. Freedman duly obliged and turned out to celebrate with his on-rushing teammates. Jersualem had overcome the odds to win the first ever Anglo-Israel Cup. Jerusalem's captain, Dan Kosky, accepted the trophy and cheekily commented, "There's only one team in Israel."

After the game, we caught up with the penalty shootout heroes. When questioned about his heroics, Freedman commented about the lack of respect shown to his team, "Binky fears Iran will hit, but he should have worried about Jerusalem because we hit much harder." Piha, who made some difficult saves throughout the match, expressed his delight in lifting the trophy, "The lads did brilliantly. All credit to this fantastic team and we look forward to re-claiming our trophy again come next year." With that, they were off to the locker rooms to celebrate with their teammates. Quite a wonderful night for the football and Jerusalem in particular, a city that in less than 4 days, has captured two major sporting trophies.

Below is exclusive footage of the winning kick by the aforementioned Freedman:

The winning 11:

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