Beitar Jerusalem was forced to settle for a frustrating 2-2 draw against Hapoel
Ra’anana on Sunday night after being denied a stoppage-time penalty in
Beitar twice took the lead before Ra’anana deservingly
equalized, but a moment of controversy in the 91st minute overshadowed the
Ra’anana midfielder Tamir Cohen clearly brought down
Jerusalem’s Andres Tunez in the box, but referee Eitan Schmuelevich inexplicably
overlooked the incident, leaving Beitar fuming at the injustice.
Sunday’s stalemate, Beitar has picked up just four points from its first four
matches of the season, while Ra’anana maintained its unbeaten start to the
campaign and climbed up to third place in the standings with eight
“This is part of the game. Referees also make mistakes,” said
Beitar coach Eli Cohen, regaining his composure after running to confront
Schmuelevich at the final whistle.
“Beitar has a new squad and we are
building the team as we go along. This is a side that two weeks ago everyone
said would be relegated. We need to give it time and be patient. I didn’t like
the way we played today, but you also have to give Ra’anana credit for playing
excellently. I don’t think we deserved more than a point.”
benefiting from Schmuelevich’s mistake, Ra’anana coach Menahem Koretzki was
disappointed with Sunday’s draw.
“I’m not pleased with a single point,”
he said. “We could have gotten more out of this match, even though Beitar twice
held the lead.”
It took Beitar less than five minutes to move in front
for the first time, with Itzik Cohen slotting in the opener from close range
after a defensive mix-up.
Jerusalem continued to dominate proceedings,
but Ra’anana would level the score against the run of play in the 14th minute.
’Keeper Ariel Harush barely moved as Tamir Cohen blasted his free kick from 20
meters into the top right corner.
Beitar still held the lead at halftime,
with Teteh Bangura netting his first goal for the team in the 29th minute with a
cool finish past ‘keeper Gal Nir.
However, Asi Baldut would equalize
eight minutes into the second half following some more poor defending and
Bangura was sent off for elbowing Emmanuel Mbola nine minutes from time before
Schmuelevich’s blunder brought the lively encounter to a contentious
On Monday, Hapoel Beersheba will look to keep pace with reigning
champion Maccabi Tel Aviv when it hosts Bnei Yehuda at Vasermil
The last time Beersheba began a season with three straight wins
was the 1974/75 season, when it also won its first championship, and it will be
hoping to make it four victories in a row to start a campaign for the first time
ever on Monday.
Dutch striker Glynor Plet, who scored 10 goals for Racing
Genk in Belgium last season, will be named in Beersheba’s squad for the first
time, but will start the match on the bench.
“Our start to the season
should give us confidence that we are a good team and that if we continue to
work together we can continue to improve,” said Beersheba coach Elisha
“Our goal is to be a top team and now that everyone is talking
about us we need to live up to these expectations. We need to remain
modest and do our job.”
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