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Maccabi Netanya forward Diya Saba received the match ball after scoring a hat-trick in last night’s 4-0 win over Maccabi Petah Tikva in Premier League action.(Photo by: REUTERS)
Sakhnin hands Beitar Jerusalem first defeat of the season
By ALLON SINAI
10/03/2017
Beitar could have returned to first place on goal difference with a win, but the ongoing distractions at the club seemed to finally catch up with it on Monday.
Beitar Jerusalem dropped to its first loss of the Premier League campaign on Monday, falling 3-2 at Bnei Sakhnin in Benny Ben-Zaken’s first match at the helm.

Beitar could have returned to first place on goal difference with a win, but the ongoing distractions at the club seemed to finally catch up with it on Monday.

Following the sacking of Sharon Mimer four days before the start of the Premier League campaign, his assistant Gili Lavenda guided the team to three wins and two draws to begin the season. Nevertheless, he was demoted back to his previous role as assistant last week, with the inexperienced 34-year-old Ben-Zaken being put in charge in his place.

His tenure at Beitar couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start on Monday. Sakhnin took the lead through Shlomi Azulay in the fourth minute, but Beitar dominated the first half and leveled the score through Hen Ezra in the 37th minute, three minutes after Itay Shechter failed to convert a penalty. Sakhnin bounced back in the second half, clinching the three points with goals through Ali Osman (62) and Firas Mugrabi (68).

Elsewhere, Maccabi Netanya continued its superb start, thrashing Maccabi Petah Tikva 4-0. Diya Saba took his tally for the season to nine goals from six matches netting a hat-trick (48, 82, 90). Eran Levy scored Netanya’s second goal.

Tzedek failed drug test confirmed Hapoel Beersheba and Israel national team defender Shir Tzedek is set to face a UEFA punishment after his B sample also tested positive for a banned substance.

Tzedek could face a suspension of up to two years, although he will try and receive a reduced sentence by claiming that the banned substance entered his body through a food supplement which he didn’t know was problematic.
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