Hapoel Tel Aviv after its win on Saturday, October 1, 2016.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Despite a far from impressive performance, Hapoel Tel Aviv finally claimed its first victory of the Premier League season on Saturday, beating Hapoel Ashkelon 2-0.
Hapoel entered the match at one of the lowest points in the club’s long history.
The record equaling 5-0 derby defeat to Maccabi Tel Aviv last Sunday left it without a win and a single place above the bottom of the Premier League standings after five matches.
The disarray on the pitch was matched by the club’s shambolic running off the field, with Eli Gutman moving up to the front office to become sports director and naming Guy Luzon as coach in his place just five days before Hapoel’s heaviest defeat in the derby since 1970.
Luzon remained calm following the derby, and despite being booed by the fans on Saturday, was delighted with the three points.
Edi Gotlieb netted the opener after 15 minutes, with Ashkelon playing with 10 men from the 32nd minute following Avi Malka’s sending off.
Hapoel clinched the win in second-half stoppage time thanks to Omri Altman’s strike.
“Despite the state in which we entered this match, we got it off to a superb start,” said Luzon. “We should have led 3-0 after 30 minutes.
In the second half you could see the team was nervous and couldn’t complete simple tasks. I’m very angry with that, but on the other hand we need to understand the trauma the players suffered in the derby.
They have been suffering for a while and I’m sure the way we played in the first half will get us back on track.”
Beitar Jerusalem rebounded from its humbling first loss of the campaign, beating Hapoel Kfar Saba 1-0 at Teddy Stadium on Saturday.
Jesus Rueda scored the only goal of the match from a free kick in the 60th minute and Beitar won again after losing 4-0 to Hapoel Haifa last week.
Hapoel Ra’anana registered its first win of the campaign and doubled its goal tally from the first five matches by beating Hapoel Haifa 2-0.
Ben Vahaba scored the opener with a powerful header in the 76th minute, with Mohammad Shaker securing the points 10 minutes later with a solo effort.
Maccabi Haifa’s only two wins of the season to date had come at home, but it could only manage a 0-0 draw against Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Saturday.
Kiryat Shmona remained one of just three unbeaten teams with Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Petah Tikva, but it recorded its fifth straight draw on Saturday since winning its first game of the campaign.
Also Saturday, Ashdod SC and Bnei Yehuda drew 2-2.
Due to Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Beersheba’s participation in the Europa League group stage, the game between Maccabi and Bnei Sakhnin was brought forward to September 21 (Maccabi won 3-0), while the contest between Beersheba and Maccabi Petah Tikva will be played on October 15.