Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Maccabi Haifa entered Monday’s showdown as two of the
Premier League’s inform teams.
However, they combined to display one of
the dreariest matches of the season, playing out a disappointing 0-0 deadlock in
Both Kiryat Shmona and Haifa had a chance to make up
important ground in the title race with a win on Monday, but both seemed content
with a single point from the kickoff.
The only real chance on the match
arrived in the 90th minute, with Kiryat Shmona’s Darko Tasevski hitting the post
with a header, ensuring the match ended in a goalless draw both sides
Kiryat Shmona climbed up to fourth with the draw, moving within
eight points of league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv after avoiding defeat for the
seventh time in its past eight encounters.
“It wasn’t that we told the
players to play like this,” explained Kiryat Shmona coach Barak Bachar. “We have
played really well in the last six weeks, but we faced a very tough team tonight
which made life difficult for us.”
Considering Haifa was in danger of
battling against relegation when Reuven Atar was sacked just one month ago, it
was perhaps not surprising that new coach Arik Benado was content with Monday’s
Haifa had won all four of its previous matches under Benado, who
was delighted with the fact his team at least kept a clean-sheet for the fifth
time in six matches under his stewardship.
“This was a defensive and
tactical match,” Benado said. “We wanted to win this match, but Kiryat Shmona
made life difficult for us and both teams played well in defense.”
captain Yaniv Katan was pleased the Greens at least managed to pick up a single
point despite a far from inspiring performance.
“This wasn’t a great
match, but it isn’t easy to play here,” he said. “We know we didn’t play that
well, but this is an important point.”