Over 30,000 visiting supporters erupted into cheers when Rade Prica’s 79th-minute goal clinched the title for Maccabi Tel-Aviv, ending a 10-year championship drought.
The win put the club 13 points clear of Maccabi Haifa with just four games to go, and sealed a record 19th domestic title in the process - much to the delight of coach Oscar Garcia.
“I want to thank all my players for being so professional, all the people at the club for their hard work, the fans who supported us all the way, and Maccabi Haifa, who had a very good season and pushed us hard to the end,” Garcia told Reuters.
Owner Mitch Goldhar, a Canadian businessman, was happy with the way the season played out after years of hard work and investing millions of dollars into the club.
“This is the fourth year of a process and we are seeing the fruits of the labour of that process. Work ethic, commitment and respect for people are all things we have had to implement, but we still have a way to go,” he said.
Garcia also spoke to the Times of Israel after the match, saying: “We knew today would be a great opportunity for us. The crowd was amazing. They supported us in all our matches. I am very pleased because we have done a good job, not only in winning the championship. We tried to build a lasting legacy here.
Maccabi Tel-Aviv will now advance to the second qualifying round of the 2013-14 Champions League in a bid to qualify for the group stages of the tournament.