A second-half Toto Tamuz hat-trick led Hapoel Tel Aviv to a 4-1 victory over
Hapoel Beersheba on Monday night, lifting the Reds to the top of the Premier
League standings above Maccabi Tel Aviv.
A timid first half at Netanya,
where Tel Aviv was hosting the match as the pitch at Bloomfield Stadium is
currently being resurfaced, ended in a 0- 0 deadlock.
However, the match
burst into life when Tal Ben-Haim gave the Reds the lead in the 53rd minute
before Tamuz scored three times in the next 20 minutes to take Hapoel above the
yellow- and-blue on goal difference.
“We had our concerns ahead of the
match, but we knew we were in good form and we were composed,” said
man-of-the-match Tamuz. “We didn’t want to let Maccabi run away with the league
and we are delighted with this win.”
Meanwhile, Arik Benado’s tenure at
Maccabi Haifa got off to a dream start on Monday, with the Greens beating Betar
Jerusalem 2-1 at Teddy Stadium for what was just their second victory of the
Benado was named as Reuven Atar’s full-time replacement on Sunday
and his squad reacted with a tenacious performance in Jerusalem.
got the start it was looking for when Haim Megrelashvili gifted the visitors the
opener in the 13th minute, turning Yaniv Katan’s cross into his own
Jerusalem got back on level terms in the 37th minute and owed its
equalizer to Haifa goalkeeper Bojan Saranov.
The Serbian haplessly left
his goalline and Betar’s Kobi Moyal punished him with a headed
However, Haifa would soon regain its advantage, with Hen Ezra
firing into the back of the net from the edge of the area two minutes from
Betar couldn’t find another goal in the second half and just as
importantly could face a harsh punishment from the Israel Football Association
after a lighter thrown from the Jerusalem stands hit linesman Amihai Moses in
first-half stoppage time and delayed the match for several minutes.
Netanya, it was Beersheba which got the second half off to the better start,
with Duvev Gabai and Aviram Bruchian wasting two golden opportunities in the
first five minutes.
Predictably, the visitors were made to pay for it,
with Ben-Haim expertly curling the ball into the bottom right corner eight
minutes into the second half.
Tamuz doubled Tel Aviv’s advantage less
than two minutes later, with his shot from 20 meters out taking a deflection and
wrong footing ’keeper Austin Ejide.
Beersheba got back into the match
just four minutes afterwards thanks to a Tomer Swisa goal, but Tamuz ensured Tel
Aviv would leave with all three points.
The striker made the most of the
linesman’s failure to spot he was in an offside position in the 65th minute and
scored his second of the night before completing his hat-trick with a superb
long-distance effort nine minutes later.
“We were a lot more aggressive
in the second half,” said Hapoel coach Yossi Abuksis. “We didn’t allow Beersheba
to move the ball and Tamuz was hitting his shots well. We still have work to do,
but we are very pleased with the result. It is always nice to be in first place,
but there’s still a long way to go.”