Maccabi Tel Aviv striker Vidar Orn Kjartansson (front) celebrates with teammate Yossi Benayoun after scoring..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
The final score-line may not have been as emphatic as the last time they played, but the bottom line remains the same, with Maccabi Tel Aviv continuing its dominance over arch-rival Hapoel Tel Aviv on Monday night with a 1-0 win in the derby.
Vidar Orn Kjartansson scored the only goal of the match in Petah Tikva in the eighth minute, with the yellow-andblue controlling proceedings from start to finish.
Maccabi registered a record equaling 5-0 win over Hapoel back in September, but both teams have since undergone dramatic changes, in particular Hapoel.
Maccabi, still without a full-time replacement for the sacked Shota Arveladze, was guided by sports director Jordi Cruyff once more, and returned back to second place with the win, closing within eight points of leader Hapoel Beersheba. Hapoel, which was guided for the first time by new coach Menahem Koretzki, remained in last place in the standings, nine points from safety.
Koretzki was forced to use a make-shift lineup, with the new ownership group led by the Nisanov brothers still busy rebuilding the squad.
Hapoel was deducted nine points for entering a stay of legal proceedings last month due to debts estimated at over NIS 100 million.
Also Monday, Yuval Avidor netted his first career hat-trick to lead Bnei Sakhnin to a thrilling 5-2 win over Ironi Kiryat Shmona. Both teams entered the game on the back of a seven-match unbeaten run and provided one of the most entertaining halves of the season to date.
Striker Shlomi Azulay gave Kiryat Shmona the lead against his former team in the sixth minute, but an Avidor brace (11, 19) completed a quick comeback for the hosts. Ahmed Abed equalized in the 26th minute, only for Ali Osman to put Sakhnin back in front with an accurate free-kick from 20 meters out three minutes later.
Sakhnin defender Abraham Paz capped Sakhnin’s remarkable first half by giving the hosts a 4-2 advantage with his header in the 40th minute, with Avidor clinching the three points and completing his hattrick with another goal in the 69th minute.
“It’s nice to score my first hat-trick at the age of 30,” said Avidor. “I had a feeling I could do something special in this match.”
Elsewhere, Beitar Jerusalem continued to strengthen its squad on Monday, signing Hen Ezra, who left Hapoel Tel Aviv due to the club’s financial troubles. Ezra’s addition comes a day after Beitar added his teammate at Hapoel, Israel Zaguri.
Hapoel Beersheba midfielder Maor Buzaglo seems set to remain at the club at least until the end of the season after posting an apology on social media on Monday as per a decision made by a club disciplinary committee a day earlier.
Buzaglo claimed last week that coach Barak Bachar had benched him in the match against Maccabi Haifa for unprofessional reasons and club owner Alona Barkat responded with a harsh statement, saying he “crossed a red line.”
The club ultimately chose to only hand him a lenient punishment, ruling that he will have to invite the entire squad to a dinner and post a public apology.
“I had no intention of hurting Barak, who I really appreciate, and I never questioned his professional integrity,” wrote Buzaglo, who added that he made a mistake by publishing his original post. “I’m sure that we can embark on a new course from here so that the situation will eventually be positive and respectful for both parties.”