|Dino Ndlovu.(Photo by: Asaf Kliger)|
Atar still under pressure after another setback
By ALLON SINAI
Maccabi Haifa only manages 1-1 at Ramat Hasharon; Betar, Sakhnin draw.
Reuven Atar’s position as Maccabi Haifa coach remained up in the air on Saturday
night after the Greens could only manage a 1-1 draw at Hapoel Ramat Hasharon,
leaving the team on a single win through nine Premier League matches.
the talk ahead of the encounter was about Atar’s decision to drop captain Yaniv
Katan from the squad. The insulted Katan called owner Jacob Shahar to notify him
of the news, while Atar released a statement on Saturday morning to clarify that
the captain was left out due to the fact that he had suffered from a virus
during the week.
Haifa took the lead in the 27th minute through Dekel
Keinan’s volley from Hen Ezra’s corner, but with or without Katan, the Greens
have largely played shockingly poor soccer this season and Saturday was no
Asi Baldut equalized from the penalty spot in the 37th minute
and Haifa recorded its fourth draw of the season to go with its four defeats and
“I was very happy with the squad’s commitment today and I’m
disappointed that after such an effort we didn’t win,” said Atar. “I have a lot
of respect for Katan and he will contribute to the team in the
Betar Jerusalem’s winning streak was snapped on Saturday with a
1-1 draw at Bnei Sakhnin.
As ever, tensions were running high ahead of
the showdown between the two bitter rivals in the wet Doha Stadium.
Sakhnin fans were flying high when Yero Bello gave the hosts the lead in the
14th minute, but Betar picked up a deserved point and extended its unbeaten
streak to five matches thanks to Avi Rikan’s goal in the 48th
Sakhnin ended the match with nine players after Bello was sent
off in the 88th minute for making an indecent gesture towards the Betar bench
while Khaled Khalaila was shown a second yellow (92) for an impulsive
Hapoel Haifa finally recorded its first win of the season on
Saturday, beating Ashdod SC 2-1 in extremely dramatic fashion.
seemed set to move top of the standings for at least 24 hours after Murad Abu
Anza gave it the lead in the 58th minute.
However, Haifa, which had
picked up just three points from its first eight games of the campaign, turned
the match on its head with two goals at the death.
equalized in the 91st minute and Fabian Stoller gave the hosts a memorable win
with a 93rd-minute header.
Bnei Yehuda moved up to fourth place on
Saturday, beating Maccabi Netanya 3-0 through Ido Levy’s own goal (16) and
strikes from Shalev Menashe (43) and Oz Raly (54).
registered its seventh draw in nine matches on Saturday, drawing 2-2 at Hapoel
Acre thanks to Tomer Swisa’s 95th minute penalty.
Ohad Kadusi (31, 45)
gave the hosts a comfortable cushion, but Roei Kehat (77) got Beersheba back
into the game and Swisa scored with the final kick of the
League-leader Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Hapoel Tel Aviv in the
much-hyped derby on Sunday, while Hapoel Ramat Gan welcomes Ironi Kiryat Shmona.