Hapoel Beersheba’s Maor Buzaglo.
(photo credit: ASAF KLIGER)
Hapoel Beersheba continued its superb run of form by beating Beitar Jerusalem 2-1 at Turner Stadium on Sunday night, extending its unbeaten streak to 15 matches to move back to the top of the Premier League standings.
Beersheba coach Barak Bachar said last week that the team has its sights set on becoming the biggest club in Israel and it showed on Sunday that it is certainly more than capable of winning a first championship in 40 years this season, dominating Jerusalem for its 13th win from past 15 games.
Beersheba moved one point ahead of Maccabi Tel Aviv after Maor Buzaglo scored in the 12th minute and Anthony Nwakaeme doubled the advantage six minutes into the second half. Dusan Matovic’s goal in second half stoppage time was of little consolation for Beitar, which remains in third place.
“We had a wonderful game,” said Bachar. “We reached many chances and was dominate for the first 80 minutes and scored two goals. It is a shame we conceded a goal and put ourselves under a little pressure at the end and we will need to learn from that. However, the important thing is that we won and got this important week off to a good start, with a cup game to come mid-week and a visit to Hapoel Tel Aviv at the weekend.”
Bachar is expecting the title race to go down to the wire.
“The race with Maccabi is exhausting but it will be like this until the end of the season,” he said. “Both teams are very good and will push each other until the end. But we need to focus on ourselves and as long as we take care of our business we will be alright. There is no doubt that we are aiming for the top this season. We are in first place and we want to stay there until the end of the season. We are very strong mentally but this is only the middle of the season and there is still a long way to go.”
Beitar coach Slobodan Drapic was understandably disappointed.
“This is a very tough game and we didn’t receive any favors from the referee tonight,” he said. “We wanted to get something out of this game but we couldn’t do so even though we put a lot into the game.
This is life and we need to get ready for Maccabi Tel Aviv next week and make sure we are ready for that match.”
Earlier Sunday, Maccabi Haifa missed an opportunity to climb up to fourth place, losing 1-0 to Ironi Kiryat Shmona at Haifa Stadium.
Nigerian striker Austin Amutu headed in the only goal of the match in the seventh minute, finding the back of the net for a second straight game since joining Kiryat Shmona in the January transfer window. Haifa lost for just the second time in 10 matches, with Kiryat Shmona extending its unbeaten streak to four contests to move up to seventh place, just one point back of Haifa and three behind Hapoel Ra’anana in fourth.