Maccabi Tel Aviv’s road woes continued on Saturday night, with the league-leader dropping to a 1-0 Premier League defeat at Ashdod SC.
Maccabi entered the encounter on the back of a 5-0 victory over Hapoel Beersheba at Bloomfield Stadium, but yet again it faltered away from home, failing to win for a fourth consecutive road match.
The yellow-and-blue will drop to second place should Hapoel Tel Aviv defeat Betar Jerusalem on Monday, with Maccabi Haifa to close to within five points of the top if it beats Hapoel Ramat Gan on Sunday.
Despite a mediocre display, Maccabi Tel Aviv had every right to feel hard done by on Saturday, with two refereeing mistakes ultimately deciding the outcome.
Maccabi should have moved in front in the fourth minute, with Roberto Colautti’s goal being wrongly ruled offside by linesman Shuki Kudish.
Tel Aviv’s top scorer Eliran Atar would have rendered the mistake meaningless had he converted at least one of the several promising chances he reached in the first half, but he failed to do so and another Kudish blunder gifted Ashdod the winner.
Maccabi’s defense failed to deal with David Revivo’s free kick and Paty Yeye (59) headed the ball into the back of the net from an offside position in front of Kudish’s eyes.
“In the first half we deserved to win and in the second half the game was more equal and they scored and we didn’t,” said Tel Aviv coach Oscar Garcia, whose team has only picked up 14 of a possible 30 points on its travels so far this season.
Hapoel Acre dropped to last place in the standings on Saturday despite netting a dramatic 90th-minute equalizer to record a remarkable 4-4 home draw against Maccabi Netanya.
Dragan Ceran (8) gave Netanya the lead before Ohad Kadusi (19) and Tamir Kahlon (20) completed a comeback, only for Yossi Shivhon to equalize in the 24th minute.
Acre regained the lead through Kadusi (46) at the start of the second half, but Ahmed Saba brought Netanya back on level terms from the penalty spot in the 61st minute and netted what looked to be a sensational winner in the 87th minute.
However, the points would be shared after Amar Zidane leveled the score with his first touch of the ball in the 90th minute after Kadusi’s penalty came off the upright.
Hapoel Haifa climbed off the bottom at the expense of Acre after beating Hapoel Ramat Hasharon 3-0.
Vladimir Gluscevic (11), Maharan Lala (14) and Guy Tzarfati (40) scored for Haifa, which has lost just once in its past seven games.
Hapoel Beersheba won for the first time in six matches on Saturday, defeating Ironi Kiryat Shmona 1-0 courtesy of a William Suarez goal (31).
Also Saturday, Bnei Yehuda drew 0-0 with Bnei Sakhnin at Bloomfield Stadium.