Beitar humiliated by Hapoel Haifa; Maccabi hosts Hapoel in TA derby

Reigning-champion Beersheba already trails Maccabi Tel Aviv by six points, albeit having played one match fewer.

September 24, 2016 23:59
2 minute read.
Itay Shechter

Beitar Jerusalem striker Itay Shechter.. (photo credit: UDI ZITIAT)

Beitar Jerusalem’s first defeat of the season was especially humbling, losing 4-0 to Hapoel Haifa at Haifa Stadium on Saturday night.

Beitar entered the match targeting its second straight win, but ended it with only one victory from five matches, recording three straight 2-2 draws to start the season before beating Hapoel Ashkelon 3-0 last week.

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Adilson Bahia put Haifa in the driving seat with two goals in the first 15 minutes (3, 15), and goalkeeper Piet Velthuizen ensured Beitar failed to find the back of the net before Filip Jazvic (88) and Shlomi Arbeitman (92) poured salt on Jerusalem’s wounds.

“The players gave their all and the way we won the match is very satisfying,” said Haifa coach Eli Cohen. “This win will give us a lot of confidence that we can compete against any team in the league.”

Beitar coach Ran Ben-Shimon had no excuse for his team’s performance.

“We were a disgrace,” said Ben-Shimon.

“But this happens in life and is part of sport. This will not be the Beitar we see this season. I have no doubt we will be a good team.”

Ironi Kiryat Shmona remained one of only three unbeaten teams in the league, but has still won only one match, drawing 2-2 against Bnei Sakhnin. Kiryat Shmona registered its fourth draw in five games thanks to Ahmed Abed’s 86th-minute equalizer. Sakhnin twice squandered a lead, with Idan Shemesh’s 39th-minute opener being canceled out by striker Shlomi Azulay four minutes later. Georginho moved the visitors back in front five minutes into the second half, only for Abed to share the spoils.

Also Saturday, a spectacular bicycle kick by Tal Ayala seven minutes from time gave Hapoel Kfar Saba a 1-0 win over Ashdod SC, which is still without a victory this season.

Hapoel Ashkelon and Hapoel Ra’anana drew 0-0.

On Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv hosts Hapoel Tel Aviv in the first derby of the season in Netanya, while Hapoel Beersheba visits Bnei Yehuda.

Maccabi leads the standings with 13 points from a possible 15 after winning four of five matches and drawing the other.

Hapoel begins life under new coach Guy Luzon on Sunday and is still searching for its first league win of the season, picking up only two points from its first four games under Eli Gutman, who decided to move up to the front office as sports director last week and appoint Luzon in his place.

“Maccabi Tel Aviv is one of the best team’s in the league and at the moment is a better team than us,” admitted Luzon. “But I’m focused on Hapoel Tel Aviv not Maccabi Tel Aviv.”

Reigning-champion Beersheba already trails Maccabi Tel Aviv by six points, albeit having played one match fewer, and can scarcely avoid another slip-up on Sunday following last week’s 2-1 loss at Maccabi Haifa.

On Monday, Maccabi Haifa visits Maccabi Petah Tikva.

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