For the first time in more than nine years, Maccabi Tel Aviv beat Maccabi Haifa
at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium on Monday night, outplaying the Greens in a resounding
3-0 victory to climb to the top of the Premier League standings.
reigning champion comfortably soaked up the pressure in the first half before
striking three times after the break through Barak Itzhaki (50) and substitute
Rade Prica (60, 75) to defeat the Greens on the road for the first time since
Despite struggling to a 1-0 win over Bnei Yehuda in its
previous league game and only drawing 0-0 with APOEL Nicosia in its Europa
League group opener on Thursday, Tel Aviv sent out a statement on
The yellow-and-blue has already opened a six-point gap over the
team considered to be its main title rival, with Haifa suffering its third
straight defeat in all competitions after also losing 1-0 to AZ Alkmaar in the
Europa League last week. Haifa hit the ground running at the start of the match,
but it had nothing to show for its early pressure, struggling to create scoring
Haifa wasn’t anxious about sending plenty of players
forward, giving Tel Aviv all the breathing room it could have hoped for at
Kiryat Eliezer. However, chances were still at a premium, with both teams
lacking cutting edge in front of goal.
The hosts almost gifted Maccabi
the opener in the 42nd minute, but Bojan Saranov was quick to close down Munas
Dabbur after the striker picked off Shimon Abu Hazeira’s careless
After easily holding off Haifa in the first half, Tel Aviv was
more purposeful after the break and it quickly got its reward.
should have really opened the scoring three minutes into the second half, but
his wastefulness was quickly forgotten after he netted the breakthrough in the
Maharan Radi squared the ball from the right after a swift
break forward and Itzhaki used his chest to tuck the ball in from close
Itzhaki already rounded Saranov in the 59th minute, but his shot
from a tight angle was cleared off the line by Edin Cocalic and Haifa remained
within striking distance.
However, seconds after Dino Ndlovu squandered
an opportunity for the Greens at one end, Tel Aviv struck at the other, with
Prica scoring just two minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Swedish striker was relegated to a substitute’s role after a disappointing start
to the season, but made his presence felt on Monday with a delightful chip over
Saranov in the 60th minute, with Eran Zahavi providing the assist.
ended any illusion Haifa may have had of mounting a comeback with a second goal
in the 75th minute and the hosts didn’t even manage to score a consolation goal,
with Ndlovu and Hen Ezra hitting the woodwork in quick succession in the 82nd
minute to cap a forgettable night for the Greens and a memorable one for the
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