Maccabi Haifa players (from left) Gal Alberman, Shay Ben-David and Dekel Keinan had a difficult time accepting last night’s dejecting 2-0 defeat at Hapoel Acre..
(photo credit: ERAN LUF)
Any suggestion Maccabi haifa is ready to challenge for the premier league title was made to look ridiculous on Sunday night. Haifa dropped to its second defeat in three matches, losing 2-0 at Hapoel acre, widely considered to be one of the weakest sides in the league.
Despite suffering a 2-0 defeat to Bnei Yehuda in its opener, Haifa entered sun- day’s showdown brimming with confidence having bounced back with a 3-1 victory over Hapoel Beersheba. However, it is the win against Beersheba rather than the loss to Bnei Yehuda, which was made to look like an anomaly on Sunday, with Haifa unable to break down acre before conceding two second half goals from ben Azubel (52) and Serbian Fejsal Mulic (89).
“The easiest thing to do after a defeat like this is to drop your head, but we need to stay together and prepare for our next match,” said Haifa coach Guy Luzon. “there are days like this and we will try and correct our mistakes. there is no doubt that this is a disappointing start to the season. We aspire to win every match, but every match in this league is difficult.”
Acre’s first win of the season helped it climb off the bottom of the standings. acre moved to two points, better than three other teams, after starting the sea- son with a two-point deficit as a punishment for financial misdemeanors.
earlier Sunday, Maccabi Netanya continued its encouraging start to the season, beating Hapoel Ra’anana 3-0 for its first win of the campaign.
the newly-promoted Netanya held Hapoel Beersheba to a 1-1 draw in their opener and was only denied a first victory in stoppage time of its second match, with acre snatching a late equalizer for a 2-2 draw.
but Netanya wouldn’t be stopped on Sunday, outplaying Ra’anana for a well-deserved triumph. Ra’anana goalkeeper Asaf Tzur did all he could to keep Netanya at bay for the first hour, but he was helpless against Eran levy’s left-footed bullet from 20 meters out in the 60th minute.
Diya Saba doubled the advantage 10 minutes later and wrapped up the scoring in the 89th minute.
Netanya not only registered its first win of 2017/18, but also recorded its first victory in the top flight since October 2015, snapping a 29-match winless streak.
on Monday, Beitar Jerusalem aims to build on its best start to a season in six years when it goes for a third straight win at Maccabi Petah Tikva. Beitar is hoping to join Hapoel Haifa as the only teams with a perfect nine points from three matches after beating Maccabi Tel Aviv 3-0 to start the campaign before defeating Ashdod sC 4-1.
Beitar will be playing for the first time since the hiring of Eli Cohen as a professional adviser. The veteran coach will work together with Gili Lavenda, who will continue as head coach after initial- ly replacing the sacked Sharon Mimer on an interim basis.
“It is a great honor for me to work with Cohen,” said Lavenda, who will have to manage without in-form striker Itay Shechter, who is out injured.