Beitar Jerusalem midfielder Omer Atzili.
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Elad Gabay’s stoppage-time winner made it four straight wins for Beitar Jerusalem on Sunday night, securing a 1-0 victory over Hapoel Acre at Teddy Stadium.
Beitar struggled to create chances throughout Sunday’s Premier League clash, but Gabay’s powerful left-footed effort from just inside the box in the 93rd minute gave the hosts all three points and brought them within two points of Hapoel Beersheba in second place and four points back of league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“We were afraid of this match,” said Beitar coach Slobodan Drapic. “This was the first time that a team played defensively against us and we knew we would have problems. However, we remained patient and I think we deserved to win.”
On Monday, two of the season’s most disappointing sides meet in Netanya when Hapoel Tel Aviv hosts Maccabi Haifa. Hapoel will be guided for the first time by Guy Levy, who was hired as the team’s coach two months after the sacking of Spaniard Cesar Mendiondo, with assistant coach Walid Badir guiding the team in the meantime.
A stoppage-time goal gave Hapoel a 1-0 win over Hapoel Ra’anana in its previous match, with its third victory of the season keeping it above the relegation zone.
“We will try to be more adventurous in attack, but we will also have to maintain the balance with defending,” said Levy when asked about the changes he plans to make. “It is difficult to know in which direction the match against Haifa will head but we will have to be focused and organized.”
Haifa needs a win on Monday to climb out of the relegation zone after triumphing in just two of 10 matches so far this season. The Greens have failed to find the back of the net in seven of those games, but coach Roni Levy remains optimistic it is only a matter of time until the team’s results improve.
“We are in a tough situation in the standings,” said Levy. “We need to start to find a way to win balanced matches.
I can see a significant improvement in training and if we continue this way the results will follow.”
Last-gasp goal gives Beitar Jerusalem dramatic win over Acre Beitar Jerusalem defender Elad Gabay (center) celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s winner in last night’s 1-0 victory over Hapoel Acre at Teddy Stadium. (Danny Maron)