Maccabi Tel Aviv steamrolled yet another helpless Premier League opponent on
Saturday, easily beating Ironi Kiryat Shmona 3-0 at Bloomfield Stadium to extend
the perfect start to its title defense.
The yellow-and-blue’s fourth win
in four matches was never in doubt once Eran Zahavi gave it an 8th-minute lead
and Maccabi also improved its combined goal difference to 9-0, becoming the
first team in top flight history to triumph in its first four games without
conceding a goal.
“I’m happy for the victory and for the way the players
transformed a difficult game,” said Maccabi coach Paulo Sousa. “They implemented
everything we planned and we got the result we wanted. I’m very satisfied from
my team and players.”
Maccabi picked up where it left off from last
week’s convincing dismantling of Maccabi Haifa, with Zahavi continuing his
superb form, netting his second goal of the season with a free-kick from 20
Zahavi also began the move that led to the second goal of the
night in the 21st minute, finding Tal Ben-Haim on the left flank, who accurately
squared the ball for the incoming Munas Dabbur.
Maccabi clinched the win
by halftime, with Ben-Haim and Dor Micha tearing the Kiryat Shmona defense apart
with a quick exchange of passes and the former scoring with ease in the first
minute of stoppage time to render the second half as no more than garbage
Hapoel Beersheba will join Maccabi on 12 points should it also
maintain its perfect start to the season when it hosts Bnei Yehuda on Monday
Maccabi Haifa already finds itself eight points behind
league-leading Maccabi Tel Aviv after failing to win for a third straight
Haifa at least snapped its losing streak by drawing 0-0 at Bnei
Sakhnin on Saturday, but Greens coach Arik Benado looked understandably
concerned after his team was found wanting in front of goal for a second
straight game following last week’s humbling 3-0 defeat at the hands of the
Both Haifa and Sakhnin had plenty of chances to break
the deadlock, with the hosts even having a goal wrongly disallowed after just
However, poor finishing combined with excellent
goalkeeping by Sakhnin’s Mahmud Kandil and Haifa’s Bojan Saranov maintained the
“We had enough chances to win the match,” said
Benado. “We suffered a blow last week, but we will get back to our
Hapoel Tel Aviv continued to gather momentum on Saturday following
its poor start to the season, thrashing Hapoel Haifa 4-0 at Kiryat Eliezer
Tel Aviv failed to find the back of the net in its first two
matches of the campaign, but beat Maccabi Petah Tikva 3-1 last week for its
first win and made it seven goals in two games by outplaying Haifa on
There was nothing to separate the sides at the break, but Omer
Damari gave the visitors the lead two minutes into the second half before Itay
Shechter doubled the advantage 10 minutes later.
Damari scored his second
goal of the night in the 78th minute and Israel Zaguri capped the easy victory
in the 90th minute.
Hapoel Ramat Hasharon’s troubles deepened after it
was beaten 3-0 at Ashdod SC.
Ramat Hasharon’s management sacked coach
Rafi Cohen after last week’s 3-1 loss to Hapoel Ra’anana, but it didn’t receive
the reaction it was hoping for on Saturday, with the visitors being outplayed
yet again in Haim Shabo’s first match in charge.
David Solari scored his
first goal as an Ashdod player in the 15th minute, with second-half strikes from
Roei Beckel (55) and Gadi Kinde (66) securing the three points.
Hasharon remained the only team in the league yet to pick up a point this season
after Petah Tikva and Hapoel Acre drew 1-1 on Saturday, snapping three-match
Guy Dayan gave the visitors the lead in the 53rd minute,
with Pedro Galvan equalizing for Petah Tikva seven minutes later.
Sunday, Beitar Jerusalem will look to bounce back from its erratic start to the
campaign when it visits surprise-package Hapoel Ra’anana in Netanya.
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