Hapoel Bersheba striker Ben Sahar celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal in last night’s 2-1 victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv at Turner Stadium..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Even when playing with one man fewer for over 70 minutes, Hapoel Beersheba proved on Monday night that it remains the team to beat in the Premier League, beating Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-1 at Turner Stadium. Beersheba climbed up to fourth place, ahead of Maccabi on goal difference having played one match fewer. But Monday’s win was of far greater significance, with the two-time defending champion picking up much-needed confidence after an erratic start to the season, while handing the yellow-and-blue a painful blow.
Beersheba registered its fifth win from the past six league matches, extending its unbeaten record at Turner since it opened at the start of the 2015/16 campaign to 38 matches.
Maccabi, on the other hand, has won just one of its last four league games, with Monday’s loss also coming on the back of a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Astana in Kazakhstan in Europa League action last Thursday.
Despite defeating Hapoel Ra’anana 3-1 last weekend, Beersheba coach Barak Bachar admonished his players for their attitude. He was far more pleased with their performance last Thursday, even though his team was beaten 2-1 by Steaua Bucharest in Europa League action at Turner.
Beersheba looked to build on that display on Monday and tried to dominate from the start. The hosts were centimeters away from netting the opener in the eighth minute. Tel Aviv goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic had no chance of stopping former Maccabi midfielder, Maharan Radi’s, shot in the eighth minute, but the upright came to his rescue.
Maccabi’s hopes were handed a major boost in the 20th minute when Beersheba defender Hatem Abd Elhamed recklessly pulled down Tel Aviv striker Vidar Orn Kjartansson, receiving a second yellow card and being sent off.
Beersheba looked to be in serious trouble, but Maccabi couldn’t capitalize on its one-man advantage. The visitors struggled to even create chances, and when they finally did, couldn’t convert them.
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Beersheba seemed to be content on holding on for a goalless deadlock, but forward Anthony Nawkaeme had other ideas. After struggling for form over recent weeks following a scorching start to the campaign, the Nigerian picked the ball up on the left flank and broke into the box before sending a superb effort from a difficult angle into the far corner.
Maccabi was stunned and Beersheba doubled its advantage six minutes later. Referee Ziv Adler failed to spot that substitute Ben Sahar was offside and the striker made the most of his chance.
The visitors got a goal back two minutes from time from Omer Atzili, but it was too little too late, and Beersheba fans celebrated at the final whistle what could end up proving to be a major turning point in the title race.
Earlier Monday, Hapoel Acre sacked coach Shlomi Dora. Acre, which is in last place in the standings, decided to part ways with Dora after Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to fellow struggler Hapoel Ra’anana. Dora is the eighth coach to be sacked in the Premier League this season, with the campaign only starting two months ago.
Eli Cohen and Tal Banin are two of the names being mentioned in connection with the vacancy.
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