Maccabi Haifa Yossi Benayoun (left).
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersheba returned to the top of the Premier League standings on Monday night, but it was forced to settle for a 1-1 draw at Maccabi Haifa, dropping two precious points in the title race.
Beersheba moved one point clear of Maccabi Tel Aviv at the summit, extending its unbeaten run to 12 matches, although it saw its five-match winning streak come to an end at Haifa Stadium.
The hosts took the lead in the 12th minute through Glynor Plet, who scored against his former team. Maor Buzaglo, starting for Beersheba for the first time in three months, leveled the score in the 35th minute with a lethal finish from the center of the box. Haifa ended the game with 10 men after Plet was sent off in the 87th minute for a foul on goalkeeper Dudu Goresh.
Elsewhere Monday, Hapoel Tel Aviv strengthened its squad with two new players, signing Gai Assulin and Lotem Zino.
Assulin, who became the youngest player capped for Israel two weeks before his 17th birthday in March 2008, will be playing for an Israeli club for the first time in his career.
Assulin left Israel for Barcelona as a 13-year-old, but made just one appearance for the senior Barca team in a Copa del Rey match. In 2010, he signed a twoand- a-half year deal with Manchester City, but he never played for the senior side, spending a loan spell at Brighton before returning to Spain to play for Racing Santander, Hercules and RCD Mallorca, making just six first-team appearances for the second division side last season.
He has been without a team since last summer, prompting him to finally join an Israeli Premier League club.
Hapoel is in desperate need of a boost, sitting just two points off the relegation zone after going winless in its past five matches.
“I know that the situation isn’t so good at the moment, but I’m sure we will be able guide the team out of it and in the long run also register achievements,” Assulin told the club’s website.
Zino is joining from Swiss club FC Thun at which he only made a total of six appearances after tearing knee ligaments eight days after signing for the team in the summer of 2014.
Meanwhile, Beershena assistant coach Sharon Mimer is set to be unveiled on Tuesday as the new head coach of Hapoel Kfar Saba. Kfar Saba sacked Felix Naim on Sunday after dropping into the relegation zone on Saturday following a 2-0 defeat to Maccabi Petah Tikva. Naim began guiding Kfar Saba when it was in the third division and led it all the way to the top flight.