(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Maccabi Tel Aviv closed back to within two points of Ironi Kiryat Shmona and the summit of the Premier League on Sunday night, comfortably brushing aside Maccabi Petah Tikva 3-0 in Netanya.
Who else but Eran Zahavi netted the opener in the 29th minute, finding space in the center of the Petah Tikva box to head in the opener.
Zahavi scored in his 17th straight league match, taking his overall tally over that stretch to 25 goals, 16 of them this season.
Tal Ben-Haim made sure Maccabi took all three points with a second-half brace, scoring his first after a nifty team move 35 seconds after the break, and netting his second nine minutes later.
“I’m really satisfied with the second half,” said Tel Aviv coach Pako Ayestaran. “For me this was the most complete game we have played this season.
“We have to keep playing at this level as we haven’t been able to keep this level,” he added. “For now Kiryat Shmona has shown that it has been able to get better results than us. But I think that if we are at this level we can be contenders.”
On Monday, Hapoel Beersheba will aim to remain within striking distance of Kiryat Shmona and Maccabi Tel Aviv when it visits Beitar Jerusalem.
Beitar has gone unbeaten in its past three matches after losing three in a row, but it has won just three of 13 games so far this season.
Beersheba has struggled on the road this season, going winless in its past four matches away from Vasermil Stadium.
Elisha Levy’s side, which can cut the gap from Kiryat Shmona back to four points, has picked up just two points from a possible 12 in its last four games on the road, losing 2-0 at Bnei Sakhnin last week.