Mac TA, K8 and Beersheba slip up in day of upsets

For the first time in more than three years, Maccabi Tel Aviv has gone three consecutive matches without a win in the Premier League.

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February 22, 2015 05:08
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Gili Vermouth (left) will hope to improve on his mediocre debut

Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Gili Vermouth (left) will hope to improve on his mediocre debut. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

 
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For the first time in more than three years, Maccabi Tel Aviv has gone three consecutive matches without a win in the Premier League after suffering a shock 2-0 defeat to Hapoel Haifa at Sammy Ofer Stadium on Saturday.

The two-time defending champion remained in first place, but only because Ironi Kiryat Shmona could only manage a 1-1 draw at home against Hapoel Ra’anana, cutting the gap to a single point.

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A Saturday of surprises was completed by third-place Hapoel Beersheba’s 4-2 defeat at Maccabi Netanya.

After requiring an 85th-minute equalizer to eke out a 1-1 draw against Kiryat Shmona last week following a 3-3 tie with Netanya, Maccabi Tel Aviv was confident of returning to winning ways against the lowly Haifa.

However, it struggled for form once more, dropping to a deserved defeat following goals from Maharan Lala (35) and Tadas Kijanskas (85), with Maccabi’s Nikola Mitrovic being sent off in stoppage time.

“We didn’t have our game,” said Maccabi coach Pako Ayestaran, whose team visits Kiryat Shmona in the first leg of the State Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday.

“I think we didn’t keep the possession we should keep. We confused the roles on the pitch a little bit and we lost the game. Now we need to show our character and start up again.



We didn’t show that we wanted to win this game. We have a lot to think about and we have to make a change.”

Haifa, which was guided by coach Tal Banin for the first time after he replaced Reuven Atar last week, moved three points clear of the relegation zone.

“It is difficult to make a change in such a short time but I think my work was clear for all to see on the pitch,” said Banin after handing Maccabi its third loss of the season.

Kiryat Shmona coach Barak Bachar rued the missed opportunity, with Ra’anana’s Shoval Gozlan (66) canceling out David Manga’s 46th-minute opener.

“We controlled the entire match and this is a very disappointing result,” said Bachar. “It is a real shame because we could have moved up to first place with a win.”

Beersheba remained just six points from the summit despite yet again failing to win on the road. Elisha Levy’s side has a mere three wins from 12 matches away from Vasermil Stadium this season following Saturday’s emphatic loss in Netanya.

Olarenwaju Kayode gave Netanya the lead in the ninth minute, but Beersheba leveled the score 10 minutes into the second half through Dovev Gabay.

However, an Eran Levy penalty (60), a superb Kayode solo effort (75) and a bullet by Romario Pires (85) secured the hosts a well-earned win before John Ogu netted Beersheba’s second goal in stoppage time.

“We entered the game after a tough week and a very cruel defeat,” said Netanya coach Roni Levy. “The players deserve a lot of credit for the way they played. We are making real progress.”

Also Saturday, the matches between Ashdod SC and Hapoel Acre and between Bnei Sakhnin and Hapoel Petah Tikva ended in goalless deadlocks.

On Sunday, Maccabi Petah Tikva hosts Beitar Jerusalem, with Maccabi Haifa visiting Hapoel Tel Aviv on Monday.

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