Hapoel Beersheba takes a win over Maccabi Yavne in the first leg of the State Cup quarterfinals.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Hapoel Beersheba eked out yet another tight win on Saturday night, continuing its charge for a first Premier League championship in 40 years with a 1-0 victory over Hapoel Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium.
Beersheba had previously only claimed two road wins over Hapoel in more than 21 years, but it hasn’t lost a league match in over four months and maintained its hold on first place by extending its unbeaten streak to 16 games thanks to Avihai Yadin’s own goal in the 23rd minute.
Barak Bachar’s men have won 14 of their matches over that stretch and built a four-point gap over Maccabi Tel Aviv, which can close back within a single point with a victory at Beitar Jerusalem on Monday night.
“Unfortunately, we dropped a gear after scoring and could have conceded at the end,” said Beersheba coach Bachar after his team claimed its third victory in six days, building on a league win over Beitar and a State Cup triumph over Maccabi Petah Tikva. “In a week like this when we played three matches in six days I can forgive the players for their mediocre form. This is an important win in the title race.”
Hapoel Tel Aviv dropped to its third defeat in three games over all competitions since the hiring of Eli Gutman, and is just three points above Hapoel Acre and the relegation zone. Acre hosts Maccabi Haifa on Sunday.
“I think we played against the best team in the country,” said Gutman.
“It is a shame we conceded that goal but all in all I saw some improvement from the team.”
Also Saturday, rock-bottom Maccabi Netanya lost 2-0 to Bnei Sakhnin, with Firas Mugrabi (52, 62) netting a brace.
Guy Badash’s own goal in the 88th minute gave Hapoel Haifa a 1-1 draw against Hapoel Kfar Saba, which took the lead six minutes earlier through Ran Yitzhak. Ironi Kiryat Shmona and Bnei Yehdua drew 1-1 after Bruno’s 84th-minute goal canceled out Amir Agajev’s opener (66). Hapoel Ra’anana strengthened its hold on fourth position thanks to a 1-0 victory over Maccabi Petah Tikva courtesy of Evans Kangwa’s 13th-minute winner.