Hapoel Beersheba’s Elyaniv Barda.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersheba’s Premier League title hopes are alive and kicking, after two Elyaniv Barda goals within five second half minutes gave the team a 2-0 win over Bnei Sakhnin at Vasermil Stadium on Sunday night.
Beersheba leapfrogged Ironi Kiryat Shmona into second place and closed within two points of league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv, which hosts Hapoel Petah Tikva on Monday.
After a quiet first half, Barda scored two classic poacher’s goals in the 52nd and 56th minutes, securing Beersheba an 11th win from its 13 home matches to date.
“We really want to win the championship,” said Beersheba coach Elisha Levy.
“However, as someone who has taken championships in the past I know that we need to continue and improve our play and collect points on the road and not just at home.”
Maccabi will be confident of moving five points clear at the top on Monday with a win over Petah Tikva at Bloomfield Stadium.
The two-time defending champion is in the midst of its worst stretch of the season, winning just one of its past five matches. Maccabi’s 1-0 loss to Beitar Jerusalem last week was its second in three games after suffering only two defeats in its first 23 contests of the campaign.
However, the yellow-and-blue will be optimistic of returning to winning ways against the lowly Petah Tikva, which is three points from safety after winning only one of its past 12 encounters, especially considering Maccabi’s superb record at Bloomfield, winning nine and drawing three of its home matches so far this season.
Elsewhere, Ironi Kiryat Shmona coach Barak Bachar and the club agreed to a contract extension on Sunday despite the team’s recent struggles.
Kiryat Shmona led the standings for almost three straight months before losing its way, suffering a 2-0 defeat to rock-bottom Hapoel Acre on Saturday for its third consecutive loss.