Hapoel Beersheba’s Roei Gordana and Maor Buzaglo.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Hapoel Beersheba kick-started its Premier League title challenge with a 3-1 victory at Hapoel Petah Tikva on Saturday, while Hapoel Tel Aviv was humbled by Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
After drawing against Beitar Jerusalem last week and losing early ground in the title race to Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa, Beersheba was desperate to claim all three points on Saturday.
The southerners seized control with Roei Gordana’s ninth-minute goal and secured the win thanks to Dovev Gabay’s second-half brace (56, 69), with Maor Buzaglo registering two more assists.
Lior Asulin netted a consolation goal for the hosts in the 90th minute, but the newly-promoted Petah Tikva is the only team yet to pick up a point and remains rooted to the foot of the standings.
“We played a lot better today and this was a very important win for us,” said Beersheba coach Elisha Levy, whose team had failed to register a victory in its previous seven matches this season in the Europa League qualifiers, Toto Cup and Premier League opener. “We will slowly find our form and there is no reason to judge our team just yet. We are a good team and we will play better with time.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv got the season off to an encouraging start by defeating Maccabi Netanya 1-0 last week. However, it was outclassed on Saturday by Kiryat Shmona, which bounced back from last week’s disappointing draw at Ashdod SC.
Mindaugas Panka made the most of a mistake by Hapoel ‘keeper Danny Amos to give the hosts the lead in the 36th minute, with Roei Kehat
(72) and Rodgers Kola (82) making sure Kiryat Shmona won by the emphatic scoreline it deserved.
“I had a really good feeling before this match,” said Kiryat Shmona coach Barak Bachar.
“They deserved to win,” admitted Hapoel coach Asi Domb.
Maccabi Petah Tikva came back from two goals down to draw 4-4 at Maccabi Netanya in a thrilling contest on Saturday.
A Daniel Dimov own goal in the 15th minute put Netanya in front, with Yuval Jakobvich leveling the score eight minutes later. Eran Levy’s penalty after a further three minutes reestablished Netanya’s lead, but Dedi Ben-Dayan ensured the score was tied at 2-2 at the break with his goal three minutes before halftime.
Former Israel international Amit BenShushan made it 3-2 to Netanya in the 56th minute with his first goal since April 2013 and the hosts seemed to be well on course to their first win of the season after Olarenwaju Kayode opened a two-goal cushion in the 75th minute.
However, Guy Melamed (75) handed Petah Tikva a lifeline and Oz Peretz ensured the points were shared with his goal seven minutes from time.
“This is just as bad as a defeat,” said Netanya’s dejected coach Yossi Mizrahi.
Hapoel Haifa’s first league match at the new Sammy Ofer Stadium didn’t go as planned on Saturday, with Ashdod SC claiming a 2-0 win on the road.
Haifa found itself with 10 men in the 55th minute following Roei Shukrani’s red card and Murad Abu Anza (72) and Or Inbrum (90) gave Ashdod the three points.
Also Saturday, Emir Hadzic’s goal four minutes from time gave Hapoel Acre a 1-1 draw at Bnei Sakhnin. Mohammad Ghadir had given the hosts the lead in the 48th minute.
On Sunday, defending champion Maccabi Tel Aviv will be confident of making it two wins in a row to start the season when it hosts Hapoel Ra’anana at Bloomfield Stadium.
Earlier Sunday, Maccabi owner Mitch Goldhar is expected to announce the hiring of Martin Bain as his new representative and general manager, replacing Jack Angelides, who left the club for PAOK Thessaloniki two months ago.
On Monday, Beitar Jerusalem hosts Maccabi Haifa at Teddy Stadium.
Hapoel Petah Tikva 1, Hapoel Beersheba 3; Ironi Kiryat Shmona 3, Hapoel Tel Aviv 0; Maccabi Netanya 4, Maccabi Petah Tikva 4; Bnei Sakhnin 1, Hapoel Acre 1; Hapoel Haifa 0, Ashdod SC 2