maccabi tel aviv 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
Maccabi Haifa’s woes worsened on Saturday after it dropped to a 1-0 defeat at
Ashdod SC, while Maccabi Tel Aviv easily maintained its 100 percent start to the
season, beating Hapoel Rishon Lezion 2-0.
After suffering a heartbreaking
exit from the Champions League and squandering a two-goal lead against Hapoel
Petah Tikva in its last league outing, Haifa dropped to its first Premier League
defeat of the season on Saturday.
Despite coming off a two-week
international break, the reigningchampion seemed tired and lifeless in Ashdod
and paid the price for its disappointing display when David Revivo netted the
winner for the hosts in the 83rd minute.
“We didn’t play well from the
start and we ended up losing patience and played even worse,” said Haifa coach
Elisha Levy, who has got plenty to ponder ahead of his team’s Europa League
group stage opener against AEK Larnaca on Thursday.
“Ashdod closed us
down and we played into their hands. This is the type of match you need to win
with character, but we couldn’t do that and lost important points.” Haifa now
trails Maccabi Tel Aviv by five points after the yellow-and-blue cruised to
another comfortable victory in Rishon.
The hosts entered the match
brimming with confidence after claiming six of six points from their first two
matches, but they never really troubled Maccabi after Nivaldo gave the visitors
the lead in the 10th minute.
Moussa Konate wrapped up the win in the 90th
“Clearly we didn’t play well in the first half,” said Maccabi
coach Moti Ivanir, who takes his team to Turkey for its Europa League group
opener against Besiktas on Thursday.
“We controlled the possession but we
didn’t create chances. Sometimes you can pay for that, but fortunately for us
they didn’t threaten our goal.
“We know we can’t just turn on a switch
and put on a show whenever we like. We would like to do that, but it isn’t easy.
Teams focus on defense against us and do all they can to disrupt our
Betar Jerusalem can move tied on points with Tel Aviv at the top
of the standings on Sunday, but it will have to defeat Hapoel Tel Aviv at
Bloomfield Stadium to do so.
While Betar has surprisingly won its first
two matches under the guidance of Yuval Naim, Hapoel has yet to truly convince
under Dror Kashtan, but it will have an ideal opportunity to calm its restless
fans with a win over the bitter enemy on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Hapoel Haifa
and Hapoel Ramat Hasharon have yet to pick up a point this season after each
dropped to yet another defeat on Saturday.
Nitzan Shirazi’s position as
Haifa coach is beginning to look shaky after his side lost its third straight
match on Saturday, falling 2-0 at home to Bnei Yehuda, which won thanks to goals
from Pedro Galvan (47) and Amir Agajev (86).
Ramat Hasharon suffered its
second consecutive defeat, losing 3-0 at Bnei Sakhnin.
Naor Pesser was sent off after just eight minutes and the hosts took all three
points with goals from Maharan Radi (10, 80) and Kostadin Hazurov
Also Saturday, Maccabi Petah Tikva beat Maccabi Netanya 1-0 on the
road through Tal Ben-Haim’s goal (35), while Hapoel Petah Tikva and Ironi Kiryat
Shmona draw 1-1.
Adi Elisha gave Kiryat Shmona the lead in the 21st
minute before Yaniv Luzon equalized for the hosts in the 73rd.
Hapoel Acre opens its new stadium with a match against Hapoel Beersheba.