Beersheba back in first after Bnei Yehuda draw

The resurgent Maccabi Tel Aviv registered its sixth straight victory over all competitions, a run which began with a 1-0 triumph over Beersheba in the Toto Cup final four weeks ago.

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January 10, 2018 04:16
2 minute read.
Two days after signing a four-year contract extension, Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Dor Micha (right)

Two days after signing a four-year contract extension, Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Dor Micha (right) set up his team’s opener in last night’s 3-0 victory over Bnei MMBE in the State Cup round-of-32.. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

 
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Hapoel Beersheba returned to first place in the Premier League standings on Tuesday night, but the two-time reigning champion’s 0-0 draw with Bnei Yehuda combined with Maccabi Tel Aviv’s 3-0 victory over Maccabi Netanya means the top four teams in the table are separated by just two points.

Beersheba (37) moved one point above Beitar Jerusalem (36) after failing to break down a resilient Bnei Yehuda, with Hapoel Haifa (35) and Maccabi Tel Aviv (35) another point further back after 17 matches.

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The resurgent Maccabi Tel Aviv registered its sixth straight victory over all competitions, a run which began with a 1-0 triumph over Beersheba in the Toto Cup final four weeks ago.

The yellow-and-blue benefited from a questionable decision by referee Orel Greenfeld, who sent off Netanya’s Kobi Mor in the 12th minute for tripping Vidar Orn Kjartansson in the box.

Greenfeld ruled that Mor deserved a red card as he denied the Iceland striker a clear shot at goal. Kjartansson couldn’t convert the subsequent penalty though, with his effort to the center of the goal being blocked by the feet of goalkeeper Danny Amos.

The hosts had to wait until the 75th minute to make the breakthrough, with substitute Barak Itzhaki providing a cool finish before Kjartansson secured the three points with a late brace (82, 90).

While Beersheba extended its record unbeaten home run to 42 matches, it failed to find the back of the net in a league game at Turner for the first time since March 2016.



“I’m disappointed, but we didn’t manage to create many chances and this is a fair result,” admitted Beersheba coach Barak Bachar. “We weren’t good enough on the offensive end. We tried and sent on another striker but couldn’t create much.”

Bachar conceded that this season’s title race will be far more hotly contested than the past two in which Maccabi Tel Aviv was his team’s only challenger.

“This season hasn’t been as good as the previous two. There are also stronger teams in the league this season and there is a big fight for the title,” added Bachar.

Beersheba struggled to create chances against a well-organized Bnei Yehuda, coming closest in the 57th minute when John Ogu’s header beat Lithuanian goalkeeper Emilijus Zubas, but was cleared off the line by Eliel Peretz.

Bnei Yehuda had its chances to become the first team to win a league match at Turner since the stadium opened in the 2015/16 campaign, but lacked cutting edge in front of goal.

Also Tuesday, Maccabi Petah Tikva released a lot of pressure with a 2-0 win over nine-man Ironi Kiryat Shmona to move eight points clear of the relegation zone. Petah Tikva snapped a five-match winless streak while Kiryat Shmona dropped to its fourth straight loss.

Kiryat Shmona played with 10 men from the 20th minute after Brazilian defender Marcus Diniz was sent off, and Petah Tikva finally broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute through Tomas Sivok.

The visitors were down to nine men after San Menahem received a second yellow card in the 74th minute and Lidor Cohen clinched the three points moments later.

On Wednesday, Maccabi Haifa visits Hapoel Ra’anana.

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