Soccer: Beitar Jerusalem disappoints as winless streak continues

Bnei Yehuda coach Yossi Abuksis was understandably delighted with his team’s victory.

September 20, 2015 00:22
2 minute read.
Hapoel Tel Aviv striker Ramzi Safuri (left) celebrates with teammates Liviu Antal (center)

Hapoel Tel Aviv striker Ramzi Safuri (left) celebrates with teammates Liviu Antal (center) and Claudiu Bumba (right) after scoring his team’s winner in last night’s 1-0 victory over Hapoel Haifa at Haifa Stadium. (photo credit: ERAN LUF)

Beitar Jerusalem’s winless start to the Premier League season continued with a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Bnei Yehuda on Saturday, while Hapoel Tel Aviv finally claimed its first victory of the campaign.

Lidor Cohen gave Beitar the lead in the 21st minute at Bloomfield Stadium after a superb break forward caught the hosts off guard.

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However, Beitar would go on to lose a league match after taking the lead for the first time since April 2013, with Bnei Yehuda leveling the score through a Pedro Galvan (49) header before Amir Agajev (57) netted a well-deserved winner with a splendid solo effort.

The 23-year-old surged unchallenged to the edge of the box before sending an unstoppable shot into the top right corner to give the newly-promoted Bnei Yehuda its second win of the season after dropping to two straight losses following its opening victory at Maccabi Haifa.

“Soccer is all about momentum. We didn’t defend well in one corner and that allowed Bnei Yehuda back into the match,” said Beitar coach Slobodan Drapic, whose team has scored just two goals so far this season. “We need to learn from this. Beitar Jerusalem needs to play better than this. Things don’t look good so far, but if we start winning, everything can change. Soccer is all about momentum. We need to claim that first win and the team can gel from there.”

Bnei Yehuda coach Yossi Abuksis was understandably delighted with his team’s victory.

“The players deserve a lot of credit because they fought so hard,” said Abuksis. “We had some good minutes at the start of the second half and that won us the match.”

Hapoel Tel Aviv kick-started its season with a 1-0 win at Hapoel Haifa on Saturday thanks to Ramzi Safuri’s goal in the 82nd minute. Hapoel is still searching for a full-time replacement for the sacked Cesar Mendiondo, but intern coach Walid Badir may have bought himself more time by leading the side to an important victory.

“The players deserved to win,” said Badir. “The players gave 200 percent and I’m really proud of them. The most important thing is that we won because it will give everyone confidence. I came here as an assistant coach and I’ll stay as long as I’m wanted here. This is my family.”

Maccabi Petah Tikva extended its perfect start to the season on Saturday, beating Hapoel Kfar Saba 1-0 for its fourth win in four matches. Lithuanian Mindaugas Panka scored the only goal of the match in the 61st minute.

“We are taking one match at a time,” said Petah Tikva coach Ran Ben-Shimon, whose team has so far scored eight goals while conceding just one this season. “We won at a very tough stadium, but we still need to improve.”

Bnei Sakhnin registered its first win of the campaign on Saturday, beating Hapoel Acre 2-0. Firas Mugrabi (31) and Georginho (75) scored for Sakhnin.

Also Saturday, Maccabi Netanya and Ironi Kiryat Shmona drew 1-1. Ahmed Abed gave the visitors the lead in the seventh minute, but it was Netanya which was ultimately frustrated at not taking all three points after Kiryat Shmona’s Kassio was sent off for a foul on Gael Margulies in the box in the 34th minute and Romario Pires equalized from the penalty spot.

On Sunday, champion Maccabi Tel Aviv welcomes Hapoel Ra’anana. The new Turner Stadium in Beersheba will host its first match on Monday when the local Hapoel faces Maccabi Haifa.

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