Kfar Saba shocks Mac Tel Aviv

By SHARON SOLOMON
September 26, 2005 17:33

Kfar Saba presses ahead in the first half and marked all of Maccabi's midfielders.




Premier League Matchday 3 has already been one to remember with a major upset and a seven-goal game and the encounter between defending champ Maccabi Haifa and Betar Jerusalem is still yet to come. The newcomers from Kfar Saba proved all pundits wrong by stunning frontrunning Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 through an inspired team performance. Kfar Saba pressed ahead in the first half and marked all of Maccabi's midfielders, frustrating the visitors who were unable to handle the pressure. In the 60th minute, the home team was awarded a free kick at the edge of the box. Ricardo Caravalio sent a weak ball, which passed all the players in the box and rolled into the goal, giving Kfar Saba a justified lead. Tel Aviv was unable to level the score in the remaining minutes and went down just a week after a convincing derby win over Hapoel. Coach Nir Klinger told reporters afterwards that "the problem was with the team's attitude... None of our leading players were at their best. We will have to learn from this loss and keep improving." Hapoel Tel Aviv 2, Maccabi Netanya 0 Hapoel coach Dror Kashtan made a surprising change in his starting line up just before the game by demoting star striker Ibazito Ogabuna to the bench and opening with youngster Omer Peretz. Elyaniv Barda put the hosts ahead in the 37th minute, after tapping in the ball from close range. The visitors tried to build a comeback in the second half with nice moves by Alain Masudi and new signing Papi Kimoto, who made a decent debut for the yellows. But Netanya suffered another setback in the 60th minute. Baruch Dego crossed the ball from the left flank and versatile defender John Pantsil stabbed in the ball from 10 meters, sealing the fate of the game. Ashdod SC 4, Hapoel Petah Tikva 3 Ashdod hosted the blues from Petah Tikva without captain David Revivo, who was suspended by coach Yossi Mizrahi for "unprofessional behavior". Revivo's replacement, Idan Shriki, put the home team ahead in the 12th minute after he twisted past two defenders and elegantly rolled the ball into Rafi Cohen's goal. Nigerian forward Toto Tamuz made his debut for the visitors and scored in the 25th minute, after Yossi Shivhon set him up beautifully in the penalty area. Petah Tikva defender Ze'ev Haimovic was sent off in the 26th minute. Ashdod utilized its man advantage and went ahead just two minutes later, thanks to a Shai Holtzman goal. Ashdod made a blistering start to the second half, with Shai Holtzman again (50) and Moshe Ohayon (51) scoring to give the team a convincing 4-1 lead. The visitors seemed to be out of the game, but made a brave comeback. Tamuz's second goal off his own rebound in the 80th minute and substitute Manor Hasan's piledriver from 30 meters made it 4-3 in the 82nd minute. But Ashdod held on to win the game 4-3, giving the home fans a great show with plenty of goals and drama. In other games, Maccabi Petah Tikva bounced back from last week's defeat to Haifa with a 2-1 win over Bnei Sakhnin. Kfir Edri (16) and Emile Mbamba (64) scored for Petah Tikva while Nikolai Bogdan (55) netted Sakhnin's consolation goal. Upper Nazareth and Bnei Yehuda played to a scoreless draw on Friday. Maccabi Haifa will take on Guy Azuri's Beitar Jerusalem on Sunday night in the capital. Some 15,000 fans are expected to fill Teddy Stadium and provide an electrifying atmosphere. Haifa will be looking to take advantage of Maccabi Tel Aviv's loss open up a three-point lead in the table. Yaniv Katan is not fully fit, but is expected to be in the starting lineup. In-form Ofir Azu is expected to start for the yellow-and-black. Defender Tomer Haliva is suspended following his sending off last week and won't be available for Azuri.


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