Maccabi Netanya christened its new NIS 240 million stadium with a precious 2-1
victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv on Sunday night.
Netanya had picked up just
a single point from its previous three Premier League matches, but it was not
overawed by the occasion on Sunday and claimed a deserved win against Hapoel,
which lost for a second straight time.
Netanya should have taken the lead
four minutes from the break when Serge Bongeli found himself all alone in front
of Apoula Edel’s goal, only to completely fluff his shot.
squandered an even better chance two minutes later after being given a penalty
when Bongeli’s shot at goal was blocked by Ze’ev Haimovitch’s
However, Ahmed Saba’s weak effort was saved by Edel and the half
seemed destined to end in a goalless deadlock.
But Saba thought
otherwise, making amends for his miss with a clinical finish in the second
minute of stoppage time.
Hapoel equalized in the 62nd minute when Hanan
Maman stole the ball in the center of the field before threading a pass through
to Omer Damari, who made no mistake with only the ‘keeper to
However, Hapoel will enter next week’s Tel Aviv derby six points
behind Maccabi after Netanya clinched all three points in the 71st minute thanks
to Ali Khatib’s unstoppable free kick from the edge of the area.
defensive play is a real problem and we will have to find a solution,” said
Hapoel’s worried-looking coach Yossi Abuksis.
On TV: Maccabi Haifa vs Bnei Yehuda (live on Sport 1 at 7:15 p.m.)