Mac TA kick-starts campaign with win in Haifa

Yellow-and-blue closes gap from first place to seven points; Beitar Jerusalem hosts leader Beersheba tonight.

December 12, 2016 00:13
2 minute read.
Dor Micha

Maccabi Tel Aviv’s Dor Micha. (photo credit: MACCABI TEL AVIV WEBSITE)

  Maccabi Tel Aviv got its Premier League campaign back on track with a 4-2 win over Hapoel Haifa on Sunday night, scoring two late goals after squandering a twogoal cushion.

Maccabi entered the match 10 points behind leader Hapoel Beersheba after winning only one of its previous six league games, failing to score in five of them.

The yellow-and-blue picked up some much-needed confidence by beating Dundalk 2-1 in Europa League action last Thursday, even though the win wasn’t enough to send the team through to the round of 32.

Maccabi seemed to be cruising at halftime at Haifa Stadium, holding a two-goal lead thanks to Dor Micha (34) and Ofek Fishler’s own goal (39). However, Maharan Lala’s header in the 51st minute gave the hosts a lifeline and Haifa leveled the score through Hanan Maman in the 71st minute.

Maccabi looked shell-shocked, but substitute Gal Alberman’s stunning strike from 20 meters out in the 79th minute settled the yellow-and-blue’s nerves and Vidar Orn Kjartansson secured the victory two minutes from time.

“After the first half I wanted to see something we worked on and spoke about and unfortunately I saw the opposite and that of course makes me sad,” said Maccabi coach Shota Arveladze. “Sometimes we switch off and it is killing us.”

Nevertheless, Arveladze is not losing hope.

“We are not giving up on the season,” he said. “We can still fight for the championship. We will do what is necessary.”

Beersheba enters Monday’s match against Beitar Jerusalem bursting with confidence, registering an impressive 1-1 draw at Southampton last Thursday to advance to the Europa League round of 32. The draw for the round of 32 will be held on Monday afternoon. Beersheba has won eight consecutive league matches by an overall goal difference of 29-2, scoring five goals in three of its last four victories.

Beitar, which will be hosting the match in Petah Tikva as a punishment for the unruly behavior of its fans, is coming off a 2-0 win at Maccabi Haifa.

Elsewhere Sunday, Giddy Kanyuk’s spectacular strike from just past the halfway line wasn’t enough for Maccabi Petah Tikva to return to winning ways, with Drazen Bagaric’s equalizer deep into stoppage time earning Ashdod SC a 2-2 draw.

Kanyuk gave Petah Tikva the lead in the 17th minute with his long range effort, but it took Hen Azriel only three minutes to level the score. Kanyuk put the visitors back in front in the 71st minute, only for Bagaric to snatch a point for Ashdod in the 94th minute, extending Petah Tikva’s winless streak to five matches.

Court set to make decision on Hap TA future Tel Aviv District Court judge Eitan Orenstein will determine on Monday whether to accept Hapoel Tel Aviv’s request for a stay of legal proceedings due to debts estimated at over NIS 100 million. A first hearing on the matter was held on Sunday at the end of which Orenstein said he will announce his ruling on Monday.

Should he approve the stay of legal proceedings, Orenstein will then appoint a trustee who will have to try and reach agreements with the club’s many creditors, while looking for a new owner to replace Amir Kabiri as soon as possible.

According to Israel Football Association regulations, a team that is granted a stay of legal proceedings is handed a nine-point deduction.

However, Orenstein voiced his objection to the punishment on Sunday and he may order the IFA to delay the deduction.

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