Beitar Jerusalem midfielder David Keltjens (right) and Hapoel Tel Aviv defender Ofer Verta fight for the ball during last night’s 0-0 draw at Bloomfield Stadium..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Tel Aviv and Beitar Jerusalem shared the spoils following a 0-0 draw at Bloomfield Stadium on Saturday night, one of four goalless deadlocks in a miserable day of action in the Premier League.
Beitar could have closed to within a mere two points of the summit of the standings with a win over its arch-rival, but didn’t deserve more than a point following a mediocre performance.
Jerusalem remained in third place with 25 points, with Hapoel moving up to eighth despite failing to find the back of the net for a fifth consecutive home match.
“We improved in the second half, but sometimes you need a moment of brilliance to score and we didn’t have one today,” said Beitar coach Slobodan Drapic.
“We are close to the top thanks to our play, but if we want to remain there we will need to improve our finishing in front of goal.”
Hapoel has yet to show significant improvement since the hiring of coach Guy Levy, winning just one of four games.
“We were braver today and that is important,” said Levy. “Beitar is a very strong team and we coped with them well. Half of the league is playing worse than us. People think we will become Barcelona, but even Barcelona needed time to become a good team. We need to be patient.”
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Maccabi Haifa saw its three-match winning streak snapped on Saturday with a 0-0 draw at Bnei Yehuda. Haifa had its chances to take all three points, including an opportunity squandered by Hen Ezra deep into stoppage time.
“We played really well, created many chances and are heading in the right direction,” said Haifa coach Roni Levy.
New Bnei Yehuda coach Yossi Mizrahi, who replaced Yossi Abuksis last week, was hopeful the team will improve in its upcoming matches.
“I saw many things that require an improvement,” he said. “We managed to pick up a point which will boost our morale, but there is plenty to work on.”
Maccabi Petah Tikva coach Ran Ben-Shimon had no excuses for his team’s performance in the 0-0 draw with Maccabi Netanya.
“If it were up to me I’d give the fans their money back,” he said.
The fourth 0-0 of the day came in the match between Hapoel Kfar Saba and Hapoel Ra’anana.
There were at least goals in one match, with Hapoel Haifa beating Hapoel Acre 3-1 at Haifa Stadium.
Moshe Mishaelof gave Acre the lead from the penalty spot in the 21st minute, but Tomer Swisa (24), Tadas Kijanskas (45) and Zarko Korac (63) secured Haifa its first win in five matches and took it out of the relegation zone. Haifa was guided by assistant coach Meir Ben-Margi after head coach Tal Banin and club CEO Efraim Gabay were suspended by owner Yoav Katz for a heated argument that almost came to blows last weekend.
Hapoel Beersheba hosts Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Sunday while Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Bnei Sakhnin on Monday. Beersheba and Maccabi are tied at the top on 29 points.
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