Crystal Palace's Under-19 finished their time in Israel in emphatic fashion today, drawing with hosts and tournament winners Maccabi Tel Aviv and defeating Beitar Jerusalem to secure themselves a second-place finish.
Read on for reports from both games.
Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-1 Crystal Palace
- In their penultimate game, Palace take on the tournament’s strongest side
- In a well-fought first-half, Tel Aviv earn the lead through Asaf Hershko’s long-range effort
- Half-time: Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 Crystal Palace
- The Eagles push for an equaliser, but can’t find it until the final minute
- Rob Street heads Palace to a remarkable draw
- Full-time: Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-1 Crystal Palace
Crystal Palace recorded a result to live long in the memory this afternoon as they hauled themselves back from defeat in the dying seconds of a game with Winter Tournament host and league leaders Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The Eagles were competitive throughout and were hugely unfortunate not to have scored earlier in the clash as both Malachi Boateng and then TQ Addy hit the woodwork barely 30 seconds apart.
But Tel Aviv’s well-developed starting XI showed the calibre they required to win the tournament from kick-off, with Itay Ben Hemo knocking over the bar within two minutes.
The home side continued to display their ability when Noah Watson was forced into making a smart goal-line clearance before Asaf Hershko broke the deadlock with a goal from distance which cannoned off the turf and into Jacob Russell’s net.
The Eagles responded by striking the goalframe twice and then continued to threaten Tel Aviv with a series of half-chances while defending their own area admirably.
The second-half was a calmer affair than the first, but both teams continued to test one another. Palace saw chances fall to Boateng and Fionn Mooney, though by the game’s final minute, they still lagged behind their Israeli counterparts.
Then, with just seconds on the clock against the tournament's eventual champions, substitute Rob Street climbed high in the box to head home emphatically and secure the south Londoners a thoroughly well deserved point.
The triumph teed Palace up for a potential second-place finish, which could only be guaranteed with a win over Beitar Jerusalem.
Maccabi Tel Aviv: Mousayof, Mizrahi, Itzhak, Ben Hemo, Mor, Hershko, Ram (Balhassen 53), Nidam, Assayeg (Turgeman 56), Guiagon, Hanchis (Roizman 51).
Subs not used: Navot, Navon, Yatzkar, Lazar, Biton, Alon.
Palace: Jacob Russell, Watson, Jude Russell, Siddik, M.Boateng, D.Boateng, Addy (Akinwale 43), Steele (Thiselton 30), Mooney, Pierrick (Omilabu 55), Gordon (Street 53).
Subs not used: Whitworth, Wright, Adaramola, Chamberlin-Gayle, Quick, Bello, Rak Sakyi.
Crystal Palace 2-1 Beitar Jerusalem
- Palace enter the game on five points from four games with a potential runners-up place available
- The Eagles are locked in a tight first-half
- Half-time: Crystal Palace 0-0 Beitar Jerusalem
- Ten minutes before full-time, Palace take the lead through Rob Street before Beitar equalise
- With the final kick of the game, Mooney ensures Palace triumph
- Full-time: Crystal Palace 2-1 Beitar Jerusalem
Palace rounded off their involvement in the Under-19 Winter Tournament with a dramatic last-minute win over Israeli side Beitar Jerusalem this afternoon.
Mooney netted with the final kick of the game after Street’s penalty was swiftly cancelled out by Miron Tal’s equaliser.
Before the day’s concluding 10 minutes, however, little of note arose as the Eagles hunted a second-place finish in the three-day Israeli tournament.
John-Kymani Gordon came close for Palace while Beitar threatened to take the lead through Zeid Konbar. After a 15 minute break in which one of Beitar’s players was treated for a cracked rib and eventually taken to hospital, Palace entered the break as the marginally superior side.
After half-time, however, bottom-place Beitar emerged looking keen to collect three points on their final opportunity. But Jude Russell had other ideas as he roamed into the Nasim Haiek’s penalty area before being clumsily brought to the ground. Stepping up to strike from 12 yards, Street ensured his teammate’s efforts weren’t in vain and struck home confidently.
Knowing that victory would secure them the silver medal, Palace seemed a little unsettled by the pressure they’d placed on themselves and the south Londoners were punished for this shortly after scoring.
Beitar’s Tal found the ball at his feet in Joe Whitworth’s penalty area and hit the back of the net with a powerful effort to send Palace reeling. But the lads showed impressive resolve and pushed to the other end of the pitch where, with barely seconds remaining, Mooney turned home before wheeling away with his teammates; the referee's full-time whistle immediately following that which signalled a goal.
After three days of challenging matches, Palace’s Under-19 squad did well to earn themselves a second place finish in Israel, improving markedly on last year’s sixth.
And to add a cherry on the proverbial cake, 18-year-old shot stopper Jacob Russell was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament by the competition's organisers.
Palace: Whitworth, Wright (Jude Russell 44), Chamberlin-Gayle, Thiselton, Quick, Bello, Adaramola, Rak Sakyi, Omilabu (Gordon 48), Akinwale (Mooney 48), Street.
Subs not used: Jacob Russell, M.Boateng, D.Boateng, Addy, Siddik, Watson, Steele, Pierrick.
Beitar Jerusalem: Haiek, Houja, Zargeri, Abergei, Zaken, Kaia, Benyair, Amoha, Iluz, Dego.
Subs: Pinchas, Baruchian, Mizrahi, Salem, Kabilo, Hadad, Kabeda, Deri.
Image credit: Maccabi Tel Aviv Official Website