Soccer: Maccabi Close to Europa Round of 32 After 4-2 Over Frankfurt

Barak Yitzhaki against Frankfurt.

— by Amir Shoam

Maccabi Tel Aviv made a big step toward the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 today, beating Eintracht Frankfurt 4-2 in Bloomfield Stadium, Tel Aviv.

With this win, Maccabi is second to Frankfurt in Group F, having previously lost to Frankfurt 0-2, beaten French team Bordeaux 2-1, and drawn 0-0 with Cyprus champion APOEL. After playing twice against each of its group rivals, the top two teams in each group will advance to the next round.

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Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup, is the second-most important European club competition, consisting of champions of average leagues, and average teams of big leagues, such as Frankfurt, that finished sixth in the German Bundesliga last season.

Israeli midfielder Eran Zahavi scored first in the 14th minute. Two goals by striker Barak Yitzhaki in five minutes enlarged Maccabi’s lead to 3-0 by the 35th minute.

Croatian striker Srdan Lakic scored for Frankfurt in the 63th minute, and German midfielder Alexander Meier brought his team back to 3-2 with a penalty kick four minutes later. In the fourth and last minute of overtime, Zahavi scored a penalty kick of his own to set the final score.

Basketball: Maccabi In Final Game For 1st Place

— by Amir Shoam

Maccabi Tel Aviv will play tomorrow against Alba Berlin in the last game of the basketball Euroleague group stage. Maccabi currently holds the 1st place in the group as it won Unicaja Malaga, which is in second place, by 5 points and lost to it by 2. While a win tomorrow will get Maccabi the 1st place, a loss will let Malaga have it if it wins Elan Chalon.  The group’s winner will get teams that were ranked lower in the round as it’s rivals in the second group stage.

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Yesterday Maccabi’s players and staff visited the schnieder children’s hospital in Petach Tikvah, distributed presents and even performed the Korean hit song “Gangnam style” for the children.”Through those visits the players realize what’s really important in life and try to give back the love they get”, said head coach David Blatt.

Israeli Basketball: A Very Yellow Weekend

— by Amir Shoam

Maccabi Tel Aviv thrashed Polish champion Prokom Gdynia 93-62 last Thursday in the basketball Euroleague group stage. The win came four days after the humiliating domestic league defeat, 64-81 to Maccabi Rishon Lezion. Maccabi led 27-13 after the first quarter on the way to 50-30 at the break, and most of the second half became “garbage time.” (With little doubt in the final result coaches of both teams replaced their best players with substitutes in order to protect their stars from injury and give their second stringers valuable playing experience.)

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Ricky Hickman led the side with 14 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 24 minutes. David Logan added 13 points, 3 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 assists in 22 minutes. The most influential Israeli was point guard Yogev Ohayon, with 8 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and no turnovers in 24 minutes.

The win kept Maccabi on top of group B with 4 wins out of 4 games. Next Thursday the team will play in Germany against Alba Berlin (2 wins, 2 losses) in the final game of the 1st round.

Maccabi’s head coach, David Blatt, announced earlier this week that he will not continue as the head coach of the Russian national team, “for personal reasons”. Just over a year from his appointment, the American/Israeli coach led the team to win the 2007 European championship. He later won the bronze medal in both the 2011 continental championship and the Olympic tournament last summer.

Jordan Farmar contributed 18 points to one of the Euroleague’s greatest upsets of recent years: Efes Istanbul went back from trailing 30-48 after the 1st half to a 76-64 win over Caja Vitoria. The American Jew, who won 2 NBA championships with the LA Lakers, also added 6 rebounds and 3 assists in his 30 minutes on the field.

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s soccer team also had success today as it went to top the Israeli premier league table after a 3-1 win over Hapoel Ramat Gan. Eliran Atar scored his 8th and 9th goals of the season during the first 4 minutes of the second half and keeps leading the top scorers’ table. Maccabi now has 21 points of 8 games. SC Ashdod, which is having a surprisingly good season so far, went down to the 2nd place with 19 points after 0-0 versus Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

Hapoel Tel Aviv (15 points) will play tomorrow against Maccabi Netanya. Next Saturday Maccabi and Hapoel Tel Aviv will play each other.

Eden Ben Basat scored yesterday his 4th goal of the season (in 7 appearances) for Stade Brest in the win 2-0 against FC Lorient in the French Ligue 1. Goalkeeper Guy Haimov broke the Cypriot first division record for not conceding a goal for the longest time, as he kept his net clean in the 8th straight game since the start of the season. His team, AEK Larnaka, is coached by Ran Ben Shimon, who led Ironi Kiryat Shmona to a sensational Israeli championship last season. The team beat AEP Paphos 3-0 today and has 22 table points.

8 New Members Inducted Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

(L-R) Richard Cohen, inductee; Buzz Bissinger, inductee; Glenn Fine, inductee; Lisa Hoffstein, inductee; Stephen H. Frishberg, board chair; Phil Kendall, accepting on behalf of George Katz; Rich Yankowitz, inductee; (front) Al Schrier, board member; (behind Al), Lewis Katz, Pillar of Achievement recipient; Fred Shabel, inductee; and Michael Barkann, master of ceremonies and Hall of Fame member.

— by Scott D. Bluebond and Debbie Weiss

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Adolph and Rose Levis Museum (PJSHOF) celebrated its 15th anniversary by honoring eight new individuals in a reception held on May 21, 2012 at the Gershman Y at Broad and Pine Streets in Philadelphia. The 2012 inductees include Buzz Bissinger, Richard Cohen, Glenn Fine, Lisa Hoffstein, George Katz, Fred Shabel, Rich Yankowitz, and Pillar of Achievement honoree, Lewis Katz. In addition, the 2011 JCC Maccabi Games® Team Philadelphia Graduating Athletes received special recognition.

The inductees into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame represent the best of the best, those individuals and teams who, through perseverance, dedication, superior talent and skills, have risen to the top of their respective sports. Their names and achievements are celebrated within the walls of the museum. Each PJSHOF inductee has been involved in sports as an athlete, coach, manager, administrator, team owner, or as a member of the media. They must have at least one Jewish parent and have lived within, or competed within the five county Greater Philadelphia area. They have joined a special group of approximately 120 past honorees. This includes the Philadelphia SPHAs, a championship basketball team that was dominant between the two World Wars and later became the NBA Warriors; Philadelphia Phillies senior vice president and general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., NFL Films founders Ed and Steve Sabol; Philadelphia Flyers founder Ed Snider; NBA Hall of Famer Dolph Schayes, and many others.

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This year’s special class includes coaches, charity founders, sports managers and a prize-winning writer:

  • Buzz Bissinger is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, author, and now talk show host, best known for his
    non-fiction book, Friday Night Lights.
  • Richard Cohen is a world class tennis and squash player known also for his tennis coaching prowess.
  • Glenn Fine is a former inspector general of the United States Department of Justice and Rhodes Scholar, who was a 10th-round draft pick by the San Antonio Spurs.
  • Lisa Hoffstein, University of Pennsylvania tennis star, is president and founder of “The Katie At The Bat Team,” dedicated to empowering inner-city children to achieve their full potential through participation in athletics.
  • Posthumous awardee George Katz was a boxing manager famous for handling his boxers with extreme caution. He guided many good Philly contenders including Gil Turner and Kitten Hayward.
  • Fred A. Shabel has been vice-chairman of Comcast-Spectacor, the high profile sports and entertainment organization, for the past 32 years.
  • Rich Yankowitz, longtime head basketball coach at Dobbins Tech, is the winningest coach in Philadelphia Public League history.
  • Pillar of Achievement honoree Lewis Katz is a Camden-raised entrepreneur, former owner of the New
    Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils, and philanthropist. He is director of the Katz Foundation, which supports a variety of charitable, educational and medical causes. He joins a distinguished group that includes Irv Kosloff and Ike Richman, Sam Rabinowitz, and 2011 inductee, Steve Cozen.

Al Shrier served as ceremony chairman; Jay Goldberg, nominating committee chair; Harriet Beloff Goodwin; décor chair; and Louis Schmidt, publication chair. Deborah P. Weiss is the director and Stephen H. Frishberg is chair of the board.

The Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and its sports museum honor local Jewish teams and athletes, many of whom actually played their sports in the Broad Street PJSHOF location. Founded in 1997 to celebrate the contributions of local Jewish pioneers and heroes in the sports world, the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame soon expanded to a full-fledged museum with an endowment from the Levis family. It is located in the old YM-YWHA, where many of the basketball, volleyball, gymnastics, track and swimming stars practiced and played. There are lockers filled with uniforms, equipment and other memorabilia representing Jewish athletes associated with local teams like the Flyers and 76ers. There is also a gripping memorial remembering the Israeli athletes who were killed during the 1972 Munich Summer Olympic Games.

The mission of the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame is to provide the community with tangible and lasting evidence of the past, present and future of Jewish sportsmen and sportswomen in the Greater Philadelphia area and to instill community pride in Jewish accomplishments in the field of sports and the role sports has played in preserving Jewish culture. The hall and museum reflect the obstacles Jews had to overcome in order to excel in sporting endeavors locally, nationally and internationally; portray the instrumental role sports has played in Jewish life; and provide continuity to future generations of Jewish athletes. Celebrating 15 years in 2012, the PJSHOF is open Sunday through Friday and provides tours by request. Please call 215-900-7999, write [email protected] to learn more.