The city of Tel Aviv is noisy around the prayer disruption in Dizengoff Square, but tonight (Tuesday) at the Bloomfield Stadium, the tens of thousands of fans in red and yellow will have a slight respite from the noise outside, when the two teams will meet on the grass for the first derby of the season. The Reds are dreaming of their first victory in the derby after 3,440 days, while the Yellows, on the other hand, are dreaming of opening an eight-point gap over the great rival Maccabi Haifa.
Maccabi Tel Aviv started the season with two wins and a draw in the last round against Maccabi Bnei Reineh, and is clearly favored to win tonight against the city rival as well. The game will open with fans from both teams, after the long saga. As remembered, last week, Maccabi Tel Aviv announced that it would not withdraw the tickets for the derby due to a penalty received by the Reds, the fan organizations of both teams were expected to sit nearby, which was a potential for riots.
Last night in the evening of Yom Kippur, the management of Maccabi Tel Aviv announced that they have decided to withdraw the tickets that were allocated to them. The wording of the message reads: "As we have stated in the past, the main concern of Maccabi Tel Aviv is for the safety and security of the fans. The request of the police to postpone the punishment imposed on Hapoel Tel Aviv for another game that will not have the same degree of risk to the fans, was published everywhere. Unfortunately, this request was rejected, a fact that led to the current situation."
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"Meanwhile, additional discussions were held with police officials and representatives of Hapoel Tel Aviv. The club also met with representatives of the fans, who pledged that they would not do anything that could endanger them or the club. In light of the additional steps taken and the discussions held, we decided to take the allocation of tickets. The club expects from the police and the security forces to take all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of all the fans, let's enjoy the game!".
As part of the changes, it was determined that gate 13 and 10 will be closed, Hapoel Tel Aviv's ultras will sit at gate 8, and the yellow ultras at 11. 24,000 fans are expected to fill the stadium. Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Robbie Keen commented on the game at the press conference: "This is why we all play football. I hope for many more derbies. Very excited for the game. It's the kind of game where the players want to be a part of it just like the fans, so I'm really looking forward to it."
The one who came to the final visit of the Reds is David Mincberg, the new owner of the club (along with is brother - Michael Mincberg). For both teams there is a penalty of deducting points on condition, while according to the reds there is a penalty of deducting two points on condition, in the event of a fan riot under aggravating circumstances that will lead to the stoppage of the game. Whereas for the yellows there is a penalty of three conditional points in the case of the crowd breaking into the grass.
Eran Zahavi is the king of derby goals of all time with 11 goals, together with Yehoshua Glazer, compared to Glazer who scored all the goals in yellow, Zahavi scored nine in yellow and two in red. Hapoel Tel Aviv have not scored in four consecutive derbies.