Maccabi Tel Aviv's Dor Micha (front) celebrates with teammate Omer Atzili after scoring the side's second goal in a 4-1 victory over Maccabi Netanya.
(photo credit: DANNY MAROM)
Maccabi Tel Aviv increased its lead atop the Israel Premier League table to 16 points with a 4-1 victory over Maccabi Netanya at the Netanya Stadium on Monday night.
The match couldn’t have gotten off to a better start as Omer Atzli took a beauty of a back-heal by Eliran Atar and scored the fastest goal of the campaign after just 28 seconds of play to give the yellow-and-blue a 1-0 lead.
Dor Micha doubled the advantage just before halftime when he stole the ball from Dudi Twito at the top of the box and put it behind Netanya ’keeper Golan Elkaslasy. Atzili completed a brace in the 61st minute when he finished a gorgeous 50-meter through-ball by Dan Glezer, and Avi Rikan added a fourth yellow-and-blue goal in the 82nd minute with a magnificent volley off an Eli Dasa assist.
Nico Olsak pulled a goal back for Netanya via a free kick late in the game as Vladimir Ivic’s squad took home three points and the win to remain undefeated so far this season.
“We will do our best to finish the season without a loss,” said the coach. “We are on a good path. I believe we still have 19 games left and we need to concentrate right until the end of the championship and create a larger gap between us and our opponents.”
Meanwhile, Maccabi Haifa defeated Maccabi Petah Tikva 2-1 for its fourth straight victory across all competitions under head coach Marko Balbul.
After a goalless first half, a give-and-go between Shon Weissman and Sintayehu Sallalich resulted in the latter scoring to give Haifa a 1-0 lead. Balbul’s squad doubled its advantage six minutes later when Nikita Rukavytsya scored a free kick, which he drew when he was pulled down by Tomas Sivok at the edge of the box.
However, Sivok pulled Petah Tikva to within a goal when he headed home a corner kick to give the hosts life, but it would not be enough to find a split of the points.
Following the match Petah Tikva head coach Elisha Levy was replaced by Morad Magmadov.
Also, Hapoel Beersheba’s difficult season continued as Barak Bachar’s squad fell to Bnei Yehuda 3-1 at the Moshava Stadium.
In driving rain and hail, which halted the game for a number of minutes, the Southern side took a 12th minute 1-0 lead when Marwan Kabha headed home a Dia Saba cross into the box.
Bnei Yehuda coach Yossi Abuksis made the necessary adjustments at halftime as his side scored three unanswered second-half goals. Carlos Cuellar evened up the score in the 55th minute, Mavis Tchibota gave Bnei Yehuda a 2-1 lead on a gorgeous individual effort and Yuval Ashkenazi put home a 90th-minute insurance marker for the 3-1 victory.
“The players had a great second half, from both an offensive and defensive standpoint and they gave the maximum,” said Abuksis, complimenting his players.
Bachar lamented the loss after his side had an early advantage.
“When we were leading we didn’t kill the game and that has happened a lot to us this season. We have had many difficulties this campaign, we aren’t taking advantage of our opportunities,” said Bachar.
The Tomer Kashtan era as head coach of Kiryat Shmona opened up with a 1-0 win up north over Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Valon Ahmedi lofted a ball into the box that central defender Idan Nachmias headed home beating Reds ’keeper Robi Levkovich in the 67th minute. Ahmedi’s assist was his ninth of the season and leads the league in the category as Kiryat Shmona moved into eighth place.
After the contest Hapoel Tel Aviv coach Ofir Haim was relieved of his duties after just seven matches and replaced by the man whom he had taken over for, Kobi Refuah.
Hapoel Haifa and Hapoel Hadera drew 1-1 at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa. Eliel Peretz opened the scoring in the 6th minute when he pounced on a poor parry by Haifa ’keeper Ernestas Setkus off of a Lucio chance to give Niso Avitan’s side a 1-0 lead.
The Carmel Reds came out on fire in the second half and found the equalizer thanks to an Eli Elbaz goal that beat Austin Ejide to earn a point apiece for each squad.
Bnei Sakhnin and Beitar Jerusalem played to a dull 0-0 goalless draw at Doha Stadium. With chances at a premium and a heated atmosphere in the stands, both sides couldn’t find the back of the goal in the first match that Beitar fans were able to attend in Sakhnin in a number of years.
Ashdod and Hapoel Ra’anana split the points in a 1-1 draw at the port city. The hosts took a quick 1-0 lead in the first minute when Amran El Krenawy sent a perfect cross to Gadi Kinda, who headed the ball behind Ra’anana ’keeper Assaf Tzur.
However, Kayes Ganem found the equalizer in the 17th minute when he took care of a corner kick and beat Yoav Gerafi.
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