Local Soccer: Relentless Hapoel TA hits four past Nazareth

Relentless Hapoel TA hit

By JEREMY LAST
October 26, 2009 07:52
2 minute read.

Hapoel Tel Aviv may have had only three days rest since its 5-1 mauling of Rapid Vienna in the Europa League, but Eli Gutman's team showed no signs of fatigue in a superb 4-0 victory at Ahi Nazareth in the Premier League on Sunday evening. Once again, Itai Shechter was the man of the match, scoring twice to take his tally to four goals in two games, and setting up another in a blistering Hapoel performance. Just like at Bloomfield on Thursday, Tel Aviv soaked up the early pressure and took a 1-0 lead into half time courtesy of Shechter, the striker this time powerfully heading in a Bibras Natcho's free kick in the 23rd minute. The team in red then exploded in the second half. First Nemanja Vucicevic fired in from inside the area in the 54th minute after receiving the ball from Shechter. Five minutes later, Shechter got his second and Hapoel's third when he bundled in a cross from Gili Vermut, who had terrorized the Nazareth defense down the left. And finally, left back Dedi Ben-Dayan made it four when he knocked the ball in from close range after Nazareth goalkeeper Ruslan Nigmatullin could only parry a Shechter shot. The result was a wake up call for Nazareth coach Eli Mahpud who had seen his team win its last three Premier League games, albeit all against teams which had been promoted from the National League last season. "The first half wasn't bad, but it wasn't enough against a team which scored five against the Austrians," he noted. Gutman was more than satisfied with the performance from his team, which will now begin preparations for next Sunday's derby against Maccabi Tel Aviv, which defeated Hapoel Ramat Gan 3-1 on Saturday. Betar wary of in-form Haifa Betar Jerusalem coach Itzhak Schum has told his players they will have a fight on their hands when they face Maccabi Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer on Monday night. Aside from captain Aviram Bruchian, who is out with a groin injury, Schum will have a full squad at his disposal on Monday night. "You already know Maccabi Haifa and I do not need to speak too much before this game," Schum said at a team meeting on Sunday. "I only request from each of you to be ready from the first minute. The name of the game is a sporting battle, to run, to want and to play soccer." Haifa has topped the Premier League standings since the start of the season, winning all of its first six games. Jerusalem, meanwhile, has had an up and down start, winning three, drawing two and losing one game, most recently defeating Bnei Yehuda 1-0 at home last weekend. Betar defender Shimon Gershon admitted Monday's game will be crucial for the team from the capital if it is to keep the pace on last season's champion. "We do not want to think to far, but this game is important as our aim is to close the gap," Gershon said. "Maccabi Haifa has been in great form since the start of the season, and much of that is thanks to its participation in the Champions League. We need to prove a few things to ourselves, that we are a team which can challenge for titles this season." Betar is currently in sixth position in the league standings but can climb to third with a victory on Monday.


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