TA clubs back on track after derby debacle

Mac TA beats Netanya 3-1 despite Zahavi suspension and Juan Pablo red card • Hap TA edges Ra’anana.

November 10, 2014 05:38
3 minute read.
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Maccabi Tel Aviv defender Eitan Tibi (right) beat Maccabi Netanya’s Cristian Sarghi (left) to the ball to score the yellow-and-blue’s second goal in last night’s 3-1 win at Bloomfield Stadium.. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Maccabi Tel Aviv and Hapoel Tel Aviv both made winning returns to the Premier League on Sunday night in their first matches since last week’s abandonment of the derby.

Both teams will only face the Israel Football Association’s disciplinary court on Monday for their part in last week’s debacle.

They will at least enter their hearings in an upbeat mood after triumphing on the field on Sunday.

Maccabi came back from a goal down to beat Maccabi Netanya 3-1 at Bloomfield Stadium, while Hapoel defeated Hapoel Ra’anana 1-0 in Netanya.

The yellow-and-blue found itself in an early 1-0 deficit following Olarenwaju Kayode’s 15th-minute strike. Despite being without Eran Zahavi, who was suspended after being shown a red card for defending himself from a Hapoel Tel Aviv fan in the derby, Maccabi didn’t have too much trouble overturning the deficit, with Rade Prica (28) and Eitan Tibi (41) both taking advantage of Netanya’s weak defense to score with headers.

A shocking mistake by Netanya defender Romario Pires gifted Prica his second goal of the night in the 69th minute, and despite having to play with defender Sheran Yeini in goal for the final 10 minutes following goalkeeper Juan Pablo’s sending off, the hosts easily held on for the win.

Juan Pablo was shown a red card after handling the ball outside the box and Maccabi will have to manage without him when it visits first-place Ironi Kiryat Shmona in its next league match in two weeks.

“What happened last week affected the players but we talked about it during the week in the hope that it wouldn’t make the difference,” said Maccabi coach Pako Ayesteran.

“This is already the second time that I have played in goal,” said Yeini. “It was a good job we were leading 3-1 and thankfully our defense did a good job and I didn’t have to make too many saves. This wasn’t our best match, but we won and we will look to improve in our next match.”

Shoval Gozlan’s 55th-minute goal gave Hapoel Tel Aviv all three points against Ra’anana. The hosts had chances to equalize, but squandered them and then dropped to 10 men following Ben Binyamin’s sending off in the 71st minute.

“After everything that happened it was very important for us to win,” said Hapoel coach Asi Domb. “We did an excellent job and I’m very pleased. We have moved on.”

Meanwhile, the match between Bnei Sakhnin and Maccabi Petah Tikva originally scheduled for Monday was postponed by a day by police due to the heightened tensions in northern Israel.

Rioting continued on Sunday in Kafr Kana following the killing of a local man Friday night by police.

The Northern District has been reinforced by hundreds of extra police officers who are on hand mainly in and around Kafr Kana to respond to violent disturbances.

The rioting in the Galilee village came as the Arab sector declared a nationwide strike to protest the killing of 22-year-old Kheir a-Din Hamdan by police.

The Northern District notified the Premier League on Sunday that the match can’t take place in Sakhnin or Nazareth as planned on Monday.

However, Sakhnin was unhappy with the league administration’s decision to move it to Tuesday and is demanding to postpone the encounter by a further day.

Sakhnin’s real concern is that it won’t be allowed to host its next match in Doha Stadium in two weeks time. Sakhnin will welcome Beitar Jerusalem on November 23 in what is a volatile showdown in the best of times, not to mention in the current climate.

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