New Maccabi Haifa winger Sintiyahu Salalik (left) races past Hapoel Beersheba’s John Ogu during last night’s 3-1 win at Haifa Stadium. Salalik scored the Greens’ second goal after only signing with the team earlier in the day..
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Hapoel Beersheba is still searching for its win of the Premier League season after dropping to a 3-1 defeat at Maccabi Haifa on Sunday night, while Maccabi Tel Aviv got its campaign up-and-running with a 2-1 win at Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
Two-time reigning champion Beersheba was hoping to kick-start its campaign after only managing a 1-1 draw against Maccabi Netanya last Saturday.
The team’s Champions League dream came to an end three days later with a 1-0 defeat to NK Maribor in the second leg of the playoffs on Tuesday.
Beersheba has got just a single point from a possible six after yet again suffering its first league defeat of the season in Haifa. In 2016/17 it came in the fourth match of the campaign, while this season it already happened in the side’s second game.
Nikita Rukavytsya gave the Greens the lead with his header in the 30th minute and Sintiyahu Salalik, who only officially signed with the team earlier in the day, doubled the advantage from close range three minutes into the second half.
The match looked to be over when Beersheba’s Loai Taha was sent off and the hosts were awarded a penalty. But Rukavytsya’s spot kick in the 53rd minute was saved by goalkeeper Guy Haimov and Beersheba fought back with 10 men, with Dan Einbinder cutting the deficit in the 65th minute.
Beersheba pushed forward in search of an equalizer, but couldn’t find the back of the net once more and Omer Damari clinched Haifa’s first win of the season in the fifth minute of stoppage time after the Greens had lost their opener to Bnei Yehuda 2-0.
In Kiryat Shmona, Maccabi, which suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat to Beitar Jerusalem last week, dominated the first half and looked to be cruising with a two-goal lead at halftime. Omer Atzili broke the deadlock with a cool finish in front of goal in the 20th minute and doubled the advantage four minutes from the break, rolling the ball into an empty net after Dor Micha did all the hard work.
The second half was a different story, with Kiryat Shmona seizing control and setting up a tense finish after halving the deficit through Nigel Hasselbaink’s header in the 61st minute. The hosts had chances to equalize, the best of which fell to Shlomi Azulay.
The striker rounded goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic with 10 minutes to play, but lost his balance with the net at his mercy and fired the ball wide, allowing Maccabi to hold on for its first win of the season.
“I’m satisfied with the first half. We played good and disciplined and took our chances,” said Maccabi coach Jordi Cruyff. “We can’t be satisfied with the second half. We have to know how to play leading 2-0 with 45 minutes left. We should be able to play that out much better. In the end at 2-1 we suffered. I won’t use it as an excuse, but in a way you felt the tiredness from last Thursday in the players.”
Cruyff said the international break has arrived at a perfect timing for his team, with Maccabi hosting Bnei Sakhnin in its next match on the weekend of September 9.
“Like water in the desert,” said Cruyff about the two-week break. “All in all from the beginning of the season, except for the Beitar match, all the rest we have achieved our targets and now is the time we have more clean weeks and we will try to work a lot on how we play football.”
Beersheba still winless, Mac TA victorious Two-time reigning champ falls to Mac Haifa • Atzili brace leads yellow-and-blue at Kiryat Shmona New Maccabi Haifa winger Sintiyahu Salalik (left) races past Hapoel Beersheba’s John Ogu during last night’s 3-1 win at Haifa Stadium. Salalik scored the Greens’ second goal after only signing with the team earlier in the day. (Eran Luf) • By ALLON SIN AI results Sunday’s results: English Premier League Week 3: Chelsea 2, Everton 0; West Bromwich Albion 1, Stoke City 1; Liverpool 4, Arsenal 0; Tottenham Hotspur 1, Burnley 1.Results
Sunday’s results: Premier League Week 2: Hapoel Kiryat Shmona 1, Maccabi Tel Aviv 2; Maccabi Haifa 3, Hapoel Beersheba 1.
Monday on TV: Beitar Jerusalem vs Ashdod SC (live on Sport5 at 9 p.m.)