Maccabi Tel Aviv win over Bnei Yehuda.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Hapoel Tel Aviv climbed to the top of the Premier League standings for the first
time this season on Saturday night, thrashing Hapoel Petah Tikva 5-1 at National
Stadium in Ramat Gan.
However, the reigning champion’s stay in first
position may be short lived, with Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Maccabi Haifa both
having a chance to leapfrog Hapoel into first place with a victory on Monday
Kiryat Shmona visits Hapoel Beersheba while Haifa hosts Hapoel
Acre at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium in a match which was postponed from Saturday due
to the Carmel fire.
Also Saturday, the resurgent Betar Jerusalem extended
its winning streak to three matches, crushing struggling Hapoel Ashkelon 4-0 at
Teddy Stadium, while Maccabi Tel Aviv moved within one point of first place with
a 2-0 victory over Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield Stadium.
In Ramat Gan,
Hapoel was desperate for three points after last week’s s 2-0 home loss to
Ashdod SC, and the visitors took the lead four minutes in.
Toto Tamuz was
left unmarked in the box and had no trouble scoring the opener with a header
from an Eran Zehavi corner.
Douglas da Silva doubled the advantage in the
22nd minute, taking advantage of Petah Tikva’s lax defense to head the ball
beyond Snir Dori, and just four minutes later, Zehavi converted an accurate free
kick from 25 meters out.
The hosts cut into the deficit in the 37th
minute when a Junior Viza pass hit Tel Aviv defender Bevan Fransman and confused
’keeper Vincent Enyeama.
However, another Tamuz goal six minutes after
the break and Shay Abutbul’s long distance effort in the 75th minute ensured Tel
Aviv will be brimming with confidence ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League match
“These matches are never easy, but unlike last week we managed
to score an early goal and that made all the difference,” Tel Aviv coach Eli
“I believe Lyon is the best team in our group, but we will
be ready for the match and we will play much better than we did
Hapoel can still climb into third position in Group B and
progress to the Europa League round of 32, but it will need to win in France and
for SL Benfica to fail to defeat Schalke 04 in Portugal.
At Teddy, Hen
Azriel continued his sensational form for Betar, scoring his second brace in a
week to lead Uri Malmilian’s men to another victory.
The young striker
gave Jerusalem the lead in the 17th minute and wrapped up the scoring two
minutes from time, sandwiching goals from Serge Ayeli (54) and Amit Ben-Shushan
(56), which clinched the win long before the final whistle.
our best match, but we took our chances and I hope we improve our play in our
next encounters,” said Malmilian, whose team has now moved seven points clear of
the relegation zone, while Ashkelon is just two points from the bottom two after
losing its last six matches by a combined goal difference of
Despite all its critics, Maccabi Tel Aviv remains within striking
distance of the leaders after beating Bnei Yehuda for its second straight win on
Eliran Atar scored a splendid goal from 20 meters out in the
57th minute of his first match against his former side, with Guillermo
Israilevich clinching the victory for the yellow-and-blue with a cool finish
seven minutes from time.
Also Saturday, an Eden Ben-Basat brace (33, 84)
and a late Gal Arel (90) goal gave Hapoel Haifa a 3-1 victory at Bnei Sakhnin,
with Nastja Ceh scoring the hosts’ goal in the 64th minute.
Two goals by
Moshe Ohayon (57, 73) saved Ashdod SC’s blushes on Saturday, with John Gergory’s
team drawing 2-2 at home with rock-bottom Hapoel Ramat Gan, which got goals from
Dimitar Telkiyski (8) and Krum Bibishkov (83).
On Sunday, Maccabi Petah
Tikva hosts Maccabi Netanya.