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Maccabi Tel Aviv - Hapoel Tel Aviv (2-0)
League, 18 September 2005
Stadium : Bloomfield
Attendance : 16.400

Hapoel vs. Maccabi. This is the game that the fans of both teams live for. The peak of the year in this somewhat boring local league. It is the game in which fans show up like soldiers for a draft, and in which the fan clubs have the opportunity to show what they're made of.

This year, the game was extremely special. Both clubs are historically the biggest in Israel. However, the past few years belong to the Northern rival, Maccabi Haifa, who seems to take the championship without much effort. Last year both teams were even struggling to survive and the derby matches lost their charm when Maccabi fans boycotted the games because of what they claimed to be the "patronizing attitude from the clubs board". This year, both teams strengthened their squad and are worthy of the championship. So once again Bloomfield was full and the colour returned to Tel Aviv.



This was a home match for Maccabi and therefore the blue-yellow fans were an obvious majority. Both fan groups put up wonderful settings and gave a good atmosphere throughout the game.
The theme of the Maccabi fans tifo was to boast about the great history of the club. The club is celebrating it's 100 years existence and therefore the fans
displayed the dates of their championships, league cups and Asian cup victories as well as portraits of the big historical stars. The title banner says: "The history is committing" and the fans painted the tribunes with the number "100" with blue and yellow and reversed the colours.



There were only a few Hapoel fans and therefore they didn't have a theme for this game but they had a nice display of flags at the start of the match. In a home game for Hapoel one can expect
flags with communist symbols as well as the national flags of the USSR and Cuba. Hapoel (in hebrew meaning "the worker") symbolises the working class, media, and left wing of the country and therefore Maccabi fans accuse them of anti-patriotism and Arab-loving, whereas Hapoel call Maccabi Nazis.

The Maccabi players surprised the fans when they went on to play with jerseys that were worn last time in 1995, when Maccabi won both the league and the cup. There was also a lot of tension since it was the first league
game for Baruch Dego against Maccabi. Dego played for Maccabi in the past years and was essential in the team's striking force. But he wasn't loved by
the fans and circumstances led him to the loathed municipal opponent. Dego had a weak game and was substituted towards the end.



Most fans consider the biggest issue at this game to be an issue which has not been properly spoken of : police brutality. Television cameras clearly caught what happened in every game. The police beating down young fans, and confiscating property. This time it happened to Hapoel fans who are known for being "provocative", yet never did anything to deserve this awful behaviour. We all hope this will end soon. It really is too bad that such a spectacular event has to be ruined as this really was a good game which showed that Haifa is not alone in this years league.


Pictures thanks to :

http://www.12p.co.il
Click here for more pictures.

Report added : 21 September 2005
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