Maor Buzaglo orchestrated Hapoel Beersheba to yet another win on Saturday evening, scoring twice and registering one assist in his team’s 4-0 thrashing of Hapoel Ramat Hasharon.
Despite the discouraging defeat to league-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv two weeks ago, Beersheba’s Premier League title challenge hasn’t waned.
Elisha Levy’s team bounced right back with a dramatic victory over Bnei Sakhnin last weekend before cruising past Ramat Hasharon to close within just three points of the defending champion.
Maccabi, which drew 0-0 with FC Basel in the first leg of the Europa League round-of-32 on Thursday, can reestablish a six-point gap when it hosts Hapoel Haifa on Sunday.
Beersheba couldn’t create a breakthrough in the first half in Ramat Hasharon, but clinched the three points with three goals in 11 second-half minutes, with Buzaglo involved in all three.
The 26-year-old midfielder, who returned to Israel in the summer after two frustrating years at Belgian club Standard Liege, scored the opener with a free kick from 20 meters out in the 54th minute before wrapping up a sensational team move with a clinical finish eight minutes later.
Buzaglo then provided the assist for Glynor Plet’s seventh goal in the past nine games in the 65th minute before Tomer Swisa capped the rout with a stoppage- time strike.
“I’m part of a very good team where everyone works for each other,” said Buzaglo, who took his tally for the season to eight goals and a league-best 12 assists. “Coach Elisha told me that I should just play soccer and enjoy myself. He is a great coach.”
Levy returned the compliment.
“Maor is in an optimal state, both physically and mentally,” he said after seeing his team record its sixth victory from the past seven games. “He’s an excellent player and I think he is enjoying himself in Beersheba.”
Saturday’s defeat sent Ramat Hasharon to the bottom of the standings, with fellow strugglers, Bnei Yehuda, Hapoel Ra’anana and Maccabi Petah Tikva, all triumphing.
Ra’anana snapped a 12-match losing streak by beating Ashdod SC 2-1, ending its unbeaten home record this season.
Yogev Lerman scored the winning goal in the third minute of stoppage time, with Anthony Nwakaeme (18) netting the opener before Roei Bakal (61) equalized for Ashdod.
Ra’anana (23 points) remained four points ahead of Maccabi Petah Tikva (19), which beat Bnei Sakhnin 2-0 at Doha Stadium.
Pedro Galvan (8) and Erfan Zeneli (57) ensured Petah Tikva claimed its first victory in six games.
Bnei Yehuda climbed off the foot of the table with a 1-0 win over Hapoel Acre.
Ohad Kadusi scored the only goal of the match in the 57th minute, and the resurgent Bnei Yehuda extended its unbeaten streak to six matches.
Also Saturday, Ironi Kiryat Shmona beat Beitar Jerusalem 1-0 courtesy of David Manga’s 67th-minute strike. Kiryat Shmona likely secured itself at least one more week in third place, while Beitar dropped to ninth place, nine points from the relegation zone.
On Monday, Maccabi Haifa is to host Hapoel Tel Aviv in a showdown between the league’s biggest disappointments this season.
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