(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
After finally claiming a debut Champions League victory last week, Hapoel Tel
Aviv can record another first this season when it visits Ashdod SC on
A victory for the reigning champion will take it top of the
Premier League standings for the first time this campaign after Ironi Kiryat
Shmona drew 2- 2 with Maccabi Petah Tikva on Saturday.
Maccabi Haifa is
tied on 25 points with Ran Ben-Shimon’s team thanks to a 3-0 win at Hapoel
Ashkelon, while Betar Jerusalem continued its resurgence on Saturday, defeating
Hapoel Haifa 2-0 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.
Hen Azriel gave Betar the
lead after just five minutes and put the match beyond Hapoel Haifa in the 40th
minute with his second goal of the night and sixth this season in what was just
his third start of the campaign.
“We are still near to the bottom of the
standings, but I hope this win will give us more confidence,” said Jerusalem
coach Uri Malmilian, whose team has now won two straight matches after claiming
just one victory in its first 10 encounters of the season.
Maccabi Haifa dominated the hosts and took the lead at a crucial moment, with
Vladimir Dvalishvili heading in the opener in the 44th minute from an Arik
Lior Rafaelov doubled the lead in the 64th minute and Eyal
Meshumar sealed the win nine minutes later.
“This is the Maccabi Haifa we
want to see,” said Haifa coach Elisha Levy, whose side had won just once in its
previous three contests. “We overcame tough pitch conditions and played an
up-tempo game. There’s no reason we shouldn’t build on this performance and
continue to improve.”
In Kiryat Shmona, the northerners started the match
without injured stars Wiyam Amashe and Elroei Cohen, but still went ahead in the
22nd minute courtesy of a Barak Badash goal.
However, Petah Tikva turned
the match on its head at the start of the second half, with Omer Damari
equalizing in the 52nd minute and Roei Bekel giving the visitors the lead 10
Nevertheless, Kiryat Shmona ensured itself at least
another 24 hours in first place thanks to Salah Hasarma’s penalty in the 74th
“We want to win every game, but considering the situation we
found ourselves in, it’s a good result,” Ben-Shimon said.
Beersheba recorded an impressive 3-2 victory at Hapoel Acre on Saturday,
leapfrogging its opponent into fourth position.
Lior Asulin put the
visitors from the south ahead in the 12th minute, only for Arafat Djako to
equalize six minutes later.
However, Maor Melikson gave Beersheba the
lead once more in the 25th.
HEN AZRIEL and Betar Jerusalem have a
hop in their step, winning two in a row after a dismal start to the season.
Azriel scored both goals in Betar’s latest conquest, a 2-0 win at Hapoel Haifa
last night. (Asaf Kliger) On TV: Hapoel Tel Aviv vs Ashdod SC (live on Sport 1
at 8 p.m.) minute and Asulin increased the gap with his second strike of the
night four minutes before the break.
Roei Dayan gave Acre some hope with
an accurate penalty in the 78th minute, but Beersheba held on for its third win
in four matches, handing Acre its first defeat in eight games.
Saturday, Bnei Yehuda won for the first time in five encounters, beating Hapoel
Petah Tikva 2-0 thanks to Pedro Galvan’s brace (24, 62). And Bnei Sakhnin opened
a seven-point gap from Hapoel Ramat Gan, beating the rockbottom side 2-1, with
Ahmed Kasoum (17) and Cristian Danalache (70) scoring for the visitors and Idan
Srur (22) netting a consolation goal for the sorry hosts.
Aviv visits Maccabi Netanya on Monday.