Maccabi Petah Tikva frustrates Betar into goalless draw

By JEREMY LAST
February 12, 2007 04:31

The result means Betar extends lead at the top of the standings, has four-point advantage over Maccabi Tel Aviv.

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Betar Jerusalem went all out for a victory against Maccabi Petah Tikva on Sunday night, but despite controlling the game for the entire 90 minutes, the league leader was held to a 0-0 draw. There was a fervent atmosphere at Teddy Stadium following Betar's 3-0 win over reigning Premier League champion Maccabi Haifa last week. And the yellow-and-black were clearly aiming to avenge their loss in Petah Tikva earlier in the season. Maccabi only had one real chance in the whole match compared to Betar's numerous opportunities, but wave after wave of attack by the hosts came to nothing. Betar's trio of newly signed Brazilians - strikers Kleber Schwenk and Livorno Roschel and midfielder Jo Jo Ramelho - again failed to impress. The result meant Betar stretched its lead at the top of the standings, but still only holds a slender, four-point advantage over an improving Maccabi Tel Aviv. The hosts were on top from the kickoff, with Michael Zandberg leading surges of attacks into the opposition's half. The first chance fell to Schwenk, who was put through by Toto Tamuz, but his shot from inside the six-meter box was easily stopped by Petah Tikva 'keeper Ohad Cohen. A few minutes later, Petah Tikva tried to surprise Betar on the break with veteran Cameroonian international Patrick Suffo skipping past a number of tackles into the danger zone, but he was stopped by Tomer Ben-Yosef. From then on, it was all Betar. A speculative effort from Aviram Bruchian in the 18th minute excited the crowd but flew way over the crossbar. When Zandberg was fouled outside of the area, Schwenk tried his luck with a Beckham-like free kick but Cohen made another of a string of fine saves. By the end of the first half, the visitors hadn't even had one shot on goal, but the game was still tied at 0-0. Ten minutes into the second half, Betar coach Yossi Mizrahi made his first change, bringing on Amit Ben-Shushan for Bruchian. Finally, on 62 minutes, Petah Tikva had its first real chance of the game, a fierce volley from far out by Kobi Ganon which was well held by Betar 'keeper Itzik Korenfein. For the remainder of the match, Petah Tikva was kept at bay but the hosts were unable to grab a goal and all three points.


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