Haifa scores 6 in Upper Nazareth rout

By SHARON SOLOMON
January 15, 2006 07:21

Maccabi Haifa is heading towards a historical threepeat and it's doing it in style.




Maccabi Haifa is heading towards a historical threepeat and it's doing it in style. Roni Levy's team thrashed Upper Nazareth 6-0 and is showing no signs of stopping, with Brazilian midfielder Gustavo Boccoli in peak form. Hapoel Kfar Saba provided the shock of the weekend with a convincing 2-0 victory over Maccabi Petah Tikva and narrowed the gap at the bottom of the table to only four points. Hapoel Petah Tikva and Maccabi Tel Aviv settled for a 2-2 draw after a dramatic and tense game, while Maccabi Netanya also forced a 2-2 draw against Ashdod SC thanks to a Papi Kimoto brace. Asi Baldut shined in his 150th Premier League appearance and led Bnei Yehuda to a 2-1 win over Bnei Sakhnin at Bloomfield Stadium. Betar Jerusalem visits Bloomfield on Sunday to take on Dror Kashtan's Hapoel Tel Aviv, which will be looking to increase its lead in the race for second place in the table. Lior Asulin is expected to be in Luis Fernandez's starting lineup with forward Barak Yitzhaki demoted to the bench. Macedonian sweeper Igor Mitresky will make his debut for the yellow-and-black. The reigning champions from Haifa showed no mercy on Motti Iwanir's team and exploded with an impressive attacking performance. Michael Zandberg scored the first goal just four minutes into the game after Idan Tal set him up in the penalty area. Shlomi Arbitman added two quick goals for the greens in the 23rd and 44th minutes with Brazilian Gustavo Boccoli showing great vision to set him up for both the goals. Tal and Boccoli scored two more goals from penalties in the 52nd and 68th minutes, respectively. Substitute Lior Rafaelov added the sixth from the spot in the 79th minute. Hapoel Petah Tikva 2, Maccabi Tel Aviv 2 The hosts started the game in an aggressive fashion and the hard work paid off in the fifth minute when Manor Hasan was fouled on the edge of the box. Hasan's brilliant free kick curled into the goal, giving Petah Tikva a 1-0 lead. Hapoel struck again the 36th minute when Yossi Shivkhon spotted goalkeeper Liran Strauber out of position and sent in a beautiful lob from 40 meters away. Tel Aviv pulled one back in the 55th minute when Jose Duarte managed to convert from close range off an Avi Nimni cross. Referee Eitan Tavrizi awarded the yellow-and-blue a penalty in the 75th minute after defender Ori Uzan seemed to handle the ball in the box, which also resulted in his sending off. Aviv Nimni took the spot kick and sent in a fierce shot to earn Maccabi the draw. "We had control of the game. But the referee's mistake and our missed chances affected the result of the game," Petah Tikva coach Nir Levin, who was sent off also after protesting the penalty, told reporters after the game. Ashdod SC 2, Maccabi Netanya 2 The first half was played at a very slow pace with both teams concentrating on their defensive duties. But a flash of genius from David Revivo made the difference in the 41st minute. The playmaker took control of the ball and crossed it into the path of a charging Blesing Kaku, who made no mistake and sent the ball in to give Ashdod a 1-0 lead. Netanya, which was missing the suspended Alain Masudi, managed to find the equalizer in the 62nd minute, when Kimoto found himself unmarked in the box and tapped in from close range. Ashdod was awarded a penalty seven minutes later when veteran striker Shai Holtzman was fouled in the box. He coolly converted the spot kick and gave the home side a 2-1 lead. But the visitors fought back and it was Kimoto who scored his second goal of the game with another closerange strike to level the score in the 74th minute. Bnei Yehuda 2, Bnei Sakhnin 1 Sakhnin came out in an attacking formation looking for the breakthrough and won a corner in the fifth minute. Abas Suan crossed towards the near post and unmarked Saleh Hasarmah skillfully diverted the ball into the net from close range, giving the visitors the early lead. But Bnei Yehuda forward Asi Baldut leveled the score with a strong header in the 33rd minute, which left Sakhnin goalkeeper Meir Cohen helpless. Baldut was in action again in the 78th minute when he found Eli Abarbanel in the penalty area The veteran made no mistake and sent a strong shot into the back of the net to score the winner. Hapoel Kfar Saba 2, Maccabi Petah Tikva 0 Last placed Kfar Saba controlled the flow of the game and prevailed thanks to two quick second half goals. Avi Knafo struck first in the 69th minute with a low drive from five meters. New signing Samuel Yeboah took advantage of a mix up in the Petah Tikwa defence six minutes later to double the hosts' lead.


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