Beitar Jerusalem gave itself some breathing space from the Premier League relegation zone on Monday night, snapping a four-game winless streak with a 1-0 victory over Hapoel Acre at Teddy Stadium.
Beitar climbed up to ninth place and moved seven points clear of the bottom two thanks to Aviram Bruchian’s 37th-minute winner from the penalty spot.
The ball brushed ever so slightly against the hand of Acre’s Edi Gotlieb, but referee Menashe Mashiah pointed to the spot and Bruchian stepped up to convert the penalty and give Beitar just its second victory from its past 12 matches.
Five of Beitar’s starters on Monday joined the team during the January transfer window, including Pablo Brandan and Dusan Matovic, who made their league debuts.
Beitar also completed the signing of Danny Preda from Maccabi Petah Tikva on Monday, with the promising midfielder set to make his debut against Bnei Yehuda on Saturday.
Monday’s defeat extended Acre’s winless streak to eight matches, with Yuval Naim’s team failing to find the back of the net for a third straight game.
Nevertheless, all Naim wanted to speak about after the match was Mashiah’s controversial call.
“Beitar doesn’t need help from the ref,” said Naim, whose team failed to register a single shot on target. “I prepare the team for the game for an entire week and then the referee gives them such a penalty.”