Picture of Hapoel Beersheba’s Ben Sahar (left).
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Hapoel Beersheba and Maccabi Tel Aviv have got the Premier League summit within their sights after closing to within three points of first place on Sunday night.
Beersheba defeated Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-0, registering its sixth league victory from the past seven matches thanks to second-half goals from Ben Sahar (60) and Anthony Nawkaeme (77).
Beersheba has played one match fewer than the rest of the leaders and can move tied on points with Hapoel Haifa in first place with a win over Hapoel Acre when the postponed game will be played at Turner Stadium on Saturday, November 18.
The rest of the teams are off until the weekend of November 25 due to the international break, extended by another week in Israel to allow clubs to resurface their pitches.
“I’m very happy with this win because it is tough to play a match like this in front of 2,000 fans after a big European game on the road,” said Beersheba coach Barak Bachar. “It is difficult to maintain a high level of play in every match, but after a disappointing first half we improved after the interval and I’m pleased with that.”
After a slow start to the season, Sahar found the back of the net for the third time in the team’s past four matches over all competitions, also scoring in last Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Steaua Bucharest in Europa League action.
“This is a really important win after we gave everything in Romania,” noted the striker. “We showed our character as this wasn’t an easy match to play. We have a bit of a break now to rest and for our injured players to heal. You can’t be perfect in every match. We aren’t machines. But the most important thing is that we took the three points and I’m certain that we will play better as the season progresses.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv struggled against rock-bottom Hapoel Ra’anana, but eked out a 1-0 win courtesy of Or Dasa’s goal on 10 minutes.
“It wasn’t a good performance. I think that if we had a possibility to change eight players we would have done it,” said Maccabi coach Jordi Cruyff. “People were without legs and energy. We had better games where we didn’t take the points and we had a bad game today and took the points. Football wise it was a bad performance but character wise I think it was a good win cause the players were dead.”
Also Sunday, Maccabi Haifa beat Bnei Sakhnin 2-0 in front of the eyes of Dutchman Mohammed Allach, who is expected to be named as the club’s new sports director.
Defender Omri Ben-Harush headed Haifa into the lead on the brink of halftime, with Omer Damari (61) doubling the advantage after Sakhnin dropped to 10 men following Maroon Gantus’s sending off (52).
Despite the win, it remains to be seen if coach Guy Luzon will still be at the helm when Haifa plays its next match at Maccabi Netanya on Saturday, November 25.
Allach has served as the sports director of Eredivisie club Vitesse over the past four years. The position of sports director at Haifa has been vacant since Norwegian Tor-Kristian Karlsen left in February, lasting less than a year in the job.