Bnei Sakhnin striker Mohammad Ghadir scored twice in his team’s 2-1 win against Beitar Jerusalem at Teddy Stadium.
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
A Mohammad Ghadir brace gave Bnei Sakhnin a sweet 2-1 win at arch-rival Beitar Jerusalem on Sunday night in front of an empty Teddy Stadium.
Beitar was sentenced to host the match without fans due to the unruly and racist behavior of its supporters in the encounter with Maccabi Netanya last month.
Ghadir (25, 55) scored either side of the halftime break on Sunday, with Hanan Maman’s goal five minutes from time of little consolation for Beitar, which hasn’t beaten Sakhnin in Premier League action in five years.
Earlier Sunday, Beitar received another punishment from the Israel Football Association disciplinary court, being sentenced to host two matches away from Teddy, yet again due to the antics of its fans, this time in the game against Ironi Kiryat Shmona. Beitar plans to appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, despite dropping off the pace over the past couple of months, Ironi Kiryat Shmona can return to first place with a win over Maccabi Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium on Monday. After going unbeaten in its first 16 league matches, Kiryat Shmona picked up just four points from four matches and saw a four-point lead turn into a four-point deficit.
However, Barak Bachar’s team returned to winning ways last week by beating Hapoel Petah Tikva 3-2 and closed within two points of Maccabi, after the yellow- and-blue could only manage a 3-3 draw at Maccabi Netanya.
Nevertheless, the two-time defending champion will be entering Monday’s encounter as a firm favorite, going unbeaten in its past 12 matches, winning nine of them. Maccabi’s last loss came at Kiryat Shmona almost three months ago.
“We can win this game but if we don’t continue in the same pace it is not worth it,” said Maccabi coach Pako Ayestaran.
“It is one more game, an important game, but we will still have another 14 games to play after that. We are setting the pace and if we can keep this pace and not slow down we are probably going to win the league.”
Maccabi will be without forward Tal Ben-Haim who will serve a one-game suspension.
Almost two weeks after completing his controversial move to Maccabi from Hapoel Tel Aviv, Gili Vermouth is set to make his debut, although it remains to be seen if he does so as a starter or from the bench.
Pako had rested star midfielder Eran Zahavi and defensive anchor Eitan Tibi in the match against Netanya to keep them fresh for the cup and league clashes with Kiryat Shmona.
However, that move proved to be unnecessary after the stormy weather forced the postponement of the first leg.
Bachar will have a full squad at his disposal, with Touvarno Pinas set to return to Kiryat Shmona’s starting lineup after recovering from injury.
Shimon Abu Hazeira is expected to start for Kiryat Shmona for a second straight time after returning to the club on a loan deal until the end of the season from Maccabi Haifa. Abu Hazeira was told to look for a new club after scoring just a single goal in 14 appearances for the Greens, but doubled that tally with Kiryat Shmona within the first 26 minutes of the win over Petah Tikva.