Beitar Jerusalem midfielder Idan Vered (left) scored his team’s opener in last night’s 3-0 win over Hapoel Ashkelon,.
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Beitar Jerusalem finally claimed its first victory of the Premier League season on Saturday night, while Hapoel Tel Aviv at last scored its first goals but nevertheless remained winless.
After three consecutive 2-2 draws to start the season, Beitar registered a comfortable 3-0 win over Hapoel Ashkelon at Teddy Stadium.
Idan Vered opened the scoring in the 15th minute before Jesus Rueda doubled the lead 13 minutes later. Shimon Abuhazira all but wrapped up the three points by the halftime break with his strike in the 45th minute.
“We had to win tonight after drawing our previous three matches and we did so convincingly,” said Beitar coach Ran Ben-Shimon.
“We declared at the start of the season that we want to be among the top teams but that isn’t something that happens overnight. Beitar will grow in strength with every week. I’m certain of that.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv began the day in last place, picking up just a single point after failing to find the back of the net in its first three matches. Saturday’s game could have hardly gotten off to a worse start for Hapoel, with defender Marko Simic handing Kiryat Shmona an early lead with an own-goal in the 11th minute.
However, Omri Altman finally netted Hapoel’s first goal of the campaign in the 35th minute to level the score and Eli Gutman’s team looked to be on course for a win at the break after Aaron Schoenfeld (40) and Damir Sovsic (44) completed the comeback.
Ezechiel N’Douassel of Chad would bring the visitors back within a goal in the 67th minute and Shlomi Azulay’s stunning shot from 20 meters out six minutes later shared the spoils.
“This match represents our season so far,” said Gutman. “You can see that this is a new team that hasn’t played together for a long time. I still can’t put my finger on what isn’t working for us.”
Kiryat Shmona is still unbeaten this season, but it has drawn three of four matches.
“I don’t know many coaches who are disappointed at the end of a match in which their team came back from 3-1 down,” said Kiryat Shmona coach Moti Ivanir. “We only have ourselves to blame because we had the chances to win the match.”
Bnei Yehuda registered its first victory of the campaign on Saturday, beating Hapoel Kfar Saba 1-0 on the road thanks to Alon Turgeman’s goal in the third minute.
Also Saturday, Hapoel Haifa beat Ashdod SC 3-1. Maharan Lala’s (26) opener for Haifa was canceled out by Dan Biton’s (59) equalizer, only for Brazilians Julio Cesar (64) and Adilson Bahia (72) to give the visitors all three points.
On Sunday, Maccabi Tel Aviv aims to bounce back from its crushing Europa League defeat to Zenit Saint Petersburg when it visits Hapoel Ra’anana. Maccabi Haifa hosts Hapoel Beersheba on Monday.