(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersheba looks to build on the momentum from one of the greatest wins in club history when it visits Hapoel Kfar Saba in Premier League action on Sunday night.
A 93rd-minute winner by Ben Sahar completed an unforgettable comeback against Inter Milan in Europa League action on Thursday night, securing a 3-2 win over the Italian giant at Turner Stadium Beersheba looked to be dead and buried when it trailed by two goals at the break, but tactical changes made by coach Barak Bachar and a spirited second-half display saw the hosts erase the deficit and register a second win over Inter after triumphing 2-0 at San Siro to begin the campaign.
Beersheba improved to seven points in Group K, tied with Southampton in second place after the English Premier League club lost 1-0 to Sparta Prague, which moved to 12 points to clinch first place.
Beersheba visits Southampton on December 8 knowing a win or a draw with goals will move it up to second place and send it through to the round of 32. The teams drew 0-0 at Turner Stadium earlier in the campaign, so should they register another goalless deadlock their head-to-head record will be tied and Southampton will advance by virtue of its superior overall goal difference.
Beersheba has cruised in league action over the past couple of months, opening a five-point gap at the top by winning six straight matches by an overall goal difference of 22-2.
“To come back from 2-0 against a team like this is crazy,” said Beersheba coach Bachar following the win over Inter. “I don’t want to dampen the celebrations but we have a tough game against Kfar Saba on Sunday.
We have three more matches to play before we turn our focus to Southampton.”
Maccabi Tel Aviv, which looks to be Beersheba’s only rival for the title, visits Bnei Yehuda on Sunday. Maccabi will also enter its final Europa League match with everything to play for despite losing 2-0 at Zenit St. Petersburg last Thursday. The yellowand- blue will finish in second place and advance to the next round should it defeat Irish team Dundalk in Netanya and AZ Alkmaar doesn’t beat the perfect Zenit in the Netherlands.
On Saturday, Maccabi Haifa missed an opportunity to move up to second place, drawing 1-1 at Ashdod SC. Dean David gave Ashdod the lead in the 17th minute, with Roei Kehat (40) equalizing for the Greens, who have won just one of six road games so far this season.
Hapoel Haifa handed Maccabi Petah Tikva its second loss of the campaign, winning 2-1 at Haifa Stadium. Liroy Zhairy gave Petah Tikva the lead after five minutes, but Julio Cesar leveled the score in the 17th minute. Hanan Maman scored Haifa’s winner seven minutes into the second half despite playing with 10 men following Adilson Bahia’s red card (45), with Petah Tikva having two goals wrongly disallowed.
Ironi Kiryat Shmona won for the third time in four matches under coach Benny Ben-Zaken on Saturday, beating rock-bottom Hapoel Ashkelon 4-1.
Midfielder Shlomi Azulay (9), striker Shlomi Azulay (28), Eden Shamir (53) and Ahmed Abed (78) scored for Kiryat Shmona, with Lassina Dao (70) netting for the losers.
Elsewhere, Hapoel Ra’anana and Hapoel Tel Aviv drew 0-0.
On Monday, Beitar Jerusalem hosts Bnei Sakhnin.
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