Maccabi Tel Aviv leapfrogged Hapoel Tel Aviv back to the top of the Premier
League standings on Saturday night, eking out a 2-1 victory over Maccabi Netanya
at Bloomfield Stadium while the Reds were held to a draw for a third straight
The yellow-and-blue got the start it was hoping for when Eliran
Atar scored his 14th league goal of the season with a penalty kick in the fourth
However, the hosts couldn’t consolidate their lead, and pressure
was mounting at Bloomfield after Dragan Ceran equalized for Netanya in the 34th
It took Tel Aviv plenty of time to reestablish its dominance in
the second half, but it scored a deserved winner in the 77th minute, with
substitute Robert Earnshaw scoring from close range from what seemed like an
“We played well in the second half and we deserved to
win,” said Maccabi coach Oscar Garcia after seeing his team return to winning
ways following a draw with Betar Jerusalem and a defeat at Maccabi Haifa. “We
have to work hard to win every game.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv seemed to be
cruising towards another week in first place when Walid Badier gave it a 2-0
lead over rock-bottom Hapoel Haifa in the 25th minute at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium,
with Toto Tamuz netting the opener five minutes earlier.
The Reds had
numerous chances to extend their advantage, but ended up drawing for a third
consecutive match, with Guy Tzarfati scoring twice from the penalty spot (58,
84) before Tel Aviv’s Roei Gordana was sent off in the 89th minute.
draw is a huge disappointment,” said Tel Aviv coach Yossi Abuksis, whose side
has picked up just a total of three points against three of the league’s four
bottom teams over the past two weeks.
“We reached countless chances but
we missed and we missed and they scored from two penalties I’m not sure they
deserved. Instead of winning 4-0 we ended up drawing 2-2.”
Gan continued its revival under coach Eli Cohen on Saturday, climbing out of the
relegation zone with a 1-0 triumph over Bnei Yehuda at National Stadium in Ramat
Anton Arkhipov scored the only goal of the game in the 60th minute,
extending Ramat Gan’s unbeaten streak to three matches.
Bnei Sakhnin also
put some distance between itself and the relegation zone on Saturday thanks to a
2-1 win at third-placed Ashdod SC.
Khaled Khalaila (3) and Ahmed Kasoum
(30) put Sakhnin in a comfortable position and Ashdod dropped to its fourth
defeat in five matches despite Obada Zbidat’s sending off in the 51st minute and
Dimitar Makriev’s goal (87).
Hapoel Ramat Hasharon moved up to sixth
place on Saturday, beating the struggling Hapoel Acre 2-0 courtesy of goals from
Moshe Abutbul (61) and Efraim Aspa (92).
Betar Jerusalem visits Hapoel
Beersheba on Sunday, while the red-hot Maccabi Haifa, which has won four
straight games, goes to Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Monday.Roni Steinbach
contributed to this report