Maccabi Haifa remained within striking distance of Maccabi Tel Aviv in the
Premier League title race on Sunday night, beating Beitar Jerusalem 4-1 at
Kiryat Eliezer Stadium to cut the gap from first place to eight
Tel Aviv piled the pressure on Haifa with its fifth straight
victory on Saturday, beating Hapoel Ramat Hasharon 1-0, but the Greens responded
with an emphatic win over Beitar, taking all three points for the 12th time in
their past 14 matches.
“We are doing our best to focus on our own play,”
said Haifa coach Arik Benado, who has transformed the team since replacing
“We have come a long way since I joined. We won 4-1 tonight
but we have played much better. We are taking one match at a time and hopefully
when Tel Aviv drops points we will be there to pounce.”
up just a single point from its previous four matches since the signing of
Dzhabrail Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev from Chechen club Terek Grozny, Beitar got
Sunday’s match off to an encouraging start.
However, Haifa wouldn’t look
back after making the breakthrough in the 21st minute.
Yaniv Katan stole
the ball off the foot of Beitar defender Dino Skvorc and smashed in the opener
from just inside the box.
Haifa needed just seven more minutes to double
A sensational team move ended with Taleb Tawatha squaring the
ball for Weeam Amasha, who scored easily from close range.
to be in complete control, but Beitar was back in the game by the break. Haifa
‘keeper Bojan Saranov parried Amit Ben-Shushan’s shot straight into Andriy
Pylyavskyi’s body and the ball rolled into the back of the net (44) before Avi
Rikan hit the crossbar in stoppage time.
Beitar went in search on an
equalizer at the start of the second half, but saw its hopes crushed in the 64th
minute after Amasha scored his second goal of the night from the penalty spot,
with Tawatha being bundled over in the box.
Beitar coach Eli Cohen sent
on Sadayev as a substitute in the 68th minute, but the debutant couldn’t help
Jerusalem, with Alon Turgeman putting the icing on the cake for Haifa in injury
“Clearly we are going through a rough period,” said Cohen, whose
team visits Maccabi Tel Aviv in the last 16 of the State Cup on
“All the momentum we had has gone down the drain. We are not
playing the way we can. We will have to get our act together in the final two
matches of the regular season against Maccabi Netanya and Maccabi Tel Aviv if we
want to make the playoffs.
We believe we can still do it.”
Sunday, Maccabi Netanya and Bnei Sakhnin drew 0-0, each picking up a single
point that does neither team much good in its battle against
Netanya and Sakhnin remained tied on points (26) and are just
two points ahead of Hapoel Haifa and the relegation zone.