Hapoel Beersheeba’s Elyaniv Barda.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
A remarkable Elyaniv Barda hat-trick gave Hapoel Beersheba a memorable 3-2 victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv at Vasermil Stadium on Monday night.
The two-time defending champion from Tel Aviv entered the match as the only team to win its first two contests of the campaign, while Beersheba had picked up four of a possible six points despite displaying far from impressive form.
Beersheba got off to a perfect start thanks to Barda’s third-minute strike.
Maccabi dominated the rest of the first half, but it only finally equalized in the 56th minute through Eran Zahavi’s penalty, extending the midfielder’s streak to eight consecutive matches with a goal stretching back to last season.
The match seemed to be heading to a draw entering the final 10 minutes, but a crazy four-minute stretch which included three goals would see the hosts claim the victory.
First Barda reestablished Beersheba’s lead in the 85th minute, only for Tal Ben-Haim to level the score less than two minutes later.
However, Barda wasn’t done and he headed in the winner almost immediately at the other end to give Beersheba three precious points, and even more importantly, a real belief that the team can battle Maccabi for the championship this season.
“This is a match which can give us a real push forward,” said Barda.
“We have a true winner in Barda,” added Beersheba coach Elisha Levy.
“Barda peaked today, but he also received help from his teammates. You can’t beat Maccabi Tel Aviv if you don’t play as a team. We recorded a very important win which shows how strong we are.”
Maccabi coach Pako Ayestaran was understandably disappointed after his side’s first defeat of the season.
“It is always painful to lose, especially when you have the game under control,” the Spaniard said. “It is a pity because we had the better chances and we were the ones who did more to win. But we lost.”
Beersheba broke the deadlock after less than three minutes thanks to a swift break forward.
Roei Gordana broke loose in the center of the field and threaded the ball through to Barda, who made no mistake with only goalkeeper Juan Pablo to beat.
The visitors were centimeters away from equalizing on the brink of halftime, with Nikola Mitrovic hitting the post with his shot from 20 meters out after a patient team move.
Beersheba goalkeeper Austin Ejide had already denied attempts by Zahavi and Ben-Haim in the first 10 minutes of the second half before William Soares stepped on Zahavi’s foot in the box, allowing the midfielder to equalize from the penalty spot.
Beersheba finally registered its first shot on target since Barda’s goal in the 65th minute, with Maor Buzaglo’s volley being denied by a Juan Pablo dive.
Beersheba coach Levy sent striker Shlomi Arbeitman onto the pitch in place of Gordana in the 68th minute and it took Maccabi some time to adjust.
Barda should have capitalized on that to put the hosts back in front four minutes later, but he took too long to control the ball and ultimately tried to pass instead of attempt a shot.
But nothing would spoil Barda’s night, with the striker scoring twice in four minutes to ensure Ben-Haim’s goal was insignificant and give Beersheba an unforgettable win.