Hapoel Beersheva Elyaniv Barda.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersheba moved four points clear at the summit of the Premier League standings on Saturday night, claiming an emphatic win over the last team to beat it in league action.
Beersheba defeated Hapoel Acre 3-0 at Turner Stadium, extending its unbeaten run to 13 matches, including 11 wins.
Beersheba’s last loss came against Acre over three months ago, but its victory on Saturday was never in doubt once Elyaniv Barda scored the opener in the 51st minute, his 10th league goal of the season.
Maor Melikson effectively clinched the three points with an accurate free kick from 20 meters out in the 76th minute before Anthony Nwakaeme capped the victory in stoppage time.
Maccabi Tel Aviv can close back within a single point when it hosts Maccabi Haifa at Bloomfield Stadium on Sunday in coach Peter Bosz’s first match at the helm.
“Clearly any result other than a win would have been a big disappointment, but it was also important for me that we played with a better attitude than in our previous two games,” said Beersheba coach Barak Bachar.
After scoring only three goals in its previous nine games combined, Hapoel Tel Aviv found the back of the net three times in the first half of Saturday’s 3-1 win over Bnei Yehuda at Bloomfield.
Omri Altman (21), Adi Gotlieb (39) and Sagiv Yehezkel (45) scored for Hapoel, taking it five points clear of the relegation zone. Almog Buzaglo (83) netted a consolation goal for Bnei Yehuda, which dropped to 10th place and is only four points above the bottom two.
Hapoel is set to unveil Eli Gutman as its new manager on Monday and head coach Guy Levy said on Saturday that he has no problem working under the new professional authority.
“Hapoel is building something for the long term and I think that hiring a manager is a very wise strategic mood,” said Levy. “I don’t see any problem with us cooperating. We have both been in soccer for many years and we are here for the love of the game and not because of ego.”
Hapoel started with new signings Alon Turgeman and Avihai Yadin and Levy believes Saturday’s victory could prove to be a decisive moment in the team’s season.
“I have said time and again that this team didn’t train properly for the first twothree months of the season and I knew that it would take us time,” explained Levy. “Players need to get into shape and understand what is being asked of them. I think this match should be a turning point in our season.”
The future of Maccabi Netanya coach Reuven Atar is shrouded in doubt after his team remained rooted to the foot of the standings following a 2-0 loss to Hapoel Haifa. Eli Elbaz (7) and Maharan Lala (37) scored for Haifa, which opened a fivepoint gap over the relegation zone.
Netanya remains eight points from safety, picking up just three points and scoring a mere two goals in Atar’s eight matches in charge since he replaced Shlomi Dora.
Also Saturday, Bnei Sakhnin beat Maccabi Petah Tikva 1-0 through Ali Osman’s 82nd-minute w, while Hapoel Ra’anana and Ironi Kiryat Shmona drew 1-1. Ofir Mizrahi (12) scored for Kiryat Shmona, with Mamadou Thiam (44) equalizing for Ra’anana, which ended the match with 10 men following Dudi Tiram’s sending off in the 54th minute.
Also Saturday, Beitar Jerusalem visits Hapoel Kfar Saba.