Hapoel Beersheba striker Ben Sahar (in red) celebrates after doubling his team’s lead in last night’s 2-0 win over Maccabi Haifa at Turner Stadium..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersheba returned to winning ways in Premier League action and reestablished a double-digit margin at the summit of the standings on Tuesday night, beating Maccabi Haifa 2-0 at Turner Stadium.
The reigning champion entered the showdown on the back of its worse run of results in league action since the end of the 2014/15 campaign, going three matches and almost a month without a win.
Beersheba also hadn’t beaten Haifa in league play since October 2014, a streak of eight matches. Both winless runs came to an end on Tuesday with a well-deserved victory.
Anthony Nwakaeme put the hosts in front in the 36th minute and Ben Sahar’s penalty doubled the advantage in the 66th minute and effectively clinched the three points.
The win took Beersheba’s lead at the top to 10 points, with Maccabi Petah Tikva climbing up to second place on Tuesday despite only managing a 1-1 draw against Bnei Sakhnin.
Maccabi Tel Aviv can return to second place and reduce the gap back to eight points with a victory over Hapoel Ra’anana on Wednesday.
Petah Tikva, which knocked Haifa out of the State Cup on Saturday, looked to be heading to another win after Guy Melamed gave it the lead in the 70th minute and Sakhnin was left with 10 men in the 85th minute following Sari Falah’s sending off. However, Spanish defender Abraham Paz snatched a point for Sakhnin with his header in the third minute of stoppage time.
Beitar Jerusalem has still not won two consecutive league games this season after drawing 1-1 with Hapoel Ashkelon on Wednesday. Beitar goalkeeper Boris Kleyman saved Tomer Swisa’s penalty in the 14th minute, but the latter still gave the hosts the lead in the 32nd minute. Ashkelon lost Mirko Oremus to a red card in the 61st minute and Beitar leveled the score in the 82nd minute courtesy of Itay Shechter’s penalty.
Ashkelon was outraged with the referee’s decision to award Beitar a penalty and would end the match with eight men.
Swisa was sent off in the 84th minute and Moshiko Lugasi was shown a red card two minutes later.
“We should have found a way to win this match,” said Beitar’s disappointed coach Ran Ben-Shimon. “We wanted to build momentum and we should win these types of matches.”
Elsewhere Wednesday, Hapoel Haifa hosts Ashdod SC and Hapoel Kfar Saba goes to Bnei Yehuda.
Hapoel Tel Aviv visits Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Thursday. Hapoel was officially deducted nine points on Tuesday according to Israel Football Association regulations for a club that enters a stay of legal proceedings during a season.
Hapoel, which dropped to last place in the standings, six points from safety, turned to the Tel Aviv District Court due to debts estimated at over NIS 100 million and was purchased last week by an ownership group led by the Nisanov brothers.
After saving the club from going into administration, the new owners got off to a rocky start with the players, demanding that they scrap their contracts and sign new deals. The sides ultimately came to an agreement that the new owners will have until Wednesday to either offer the players new contracts or release them.