(photo credit: INIMAGE)
Maccabi Tel Aviv’s charge towards a third straight Premier League championship is turning into a procession, with the yellow-and-blue beating Beitar Jerusalem 4-1 at Bloomfield Stadium on Sunday night with an impressive second-half display.
Maccabi has gone three months without a win on the road, but it continued to dominate opponents at Bloomfield on Sunday, extending its unbeaten record at home this season with a 13th win from 16 matches.
The yellow-and-blue, which opened a 10-point gap over Hapoel Beersheba in second place with six matches to play, took the lead through Dor Micha in the 56th minute, only for Beitar’s Itzik Cohen to make the most of a defensive lapse to net the equalizer just 15 seconds from the restart.
However, Maccabi moved back in front courtesy of substitute Rade Prica in the 68th minute, with Micha expertly curling the ball into the top right corner three minutes later. Eran Zahavi scored his 25th league goal of the season nine minutes from time, moving within five of equaling the all-time record.
“I think we are getting better and better,” said Maccabi coach Pako Ayestaran.
Beersheba drew 2-2 with Ironi Kiryat Shmona in a showdown between the favorites to finish in the runners-up position at Vasermil Stadium on Sunday. Ofir Mizrahi gave 10-man Kiryat Shmona a share of the spoils with a stunning 83rd-minute goal.
Roei Gordana netted Beersheba’s opener from 30 meters out in the 21st minute following a mistake by goalkeeper Guy Haimov, but Rodgers Kola deservedly brought Kiryat Shmona back on level terms in first half stoppage time. The visitors lost Vova Brown to a red card in the 67th minute and Siraj Nasar put the hosts back in front five minutes later, only for Mizrahi to equalize.
Israeli FA to discuss Palestinian ban call with FIFA, UEFA
Worried Israeli soccer chiefs are preparing to fight a Palestinian proposal to have their Football Association suspended from FIFA next month and will meet top officials in Switzerland in the coming week.
“Our understanding is that (Israel’s suspension) will be put to a vote and we are preparing for it with everybody we need,” Israeli FA (IFA) chief executive Rotem Kamer told Israel’s Army Radio on Sunday.
He said the IFA was told that the Palestinian proposal would be on the agenda at the FIFA Congress in Zurich next month and he and IFA chairman, Ofer Eini, would discuss the matter with European soccer’s governing body UEFA on Monday and senior officials at its world counterpart FIFA in a week’s time.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said this month he would try to persuade the Palestine FA to withdraw the proposal when he met the association’s president, Jibril Rajoub, in Cairo.Reuters contributed to this report