Hapoel Beersheba midfielder John Ogu (left) celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal in last night’s 2-0 victory over Maccabi Netanya at Turner Stadium..
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
Hapoel Beersehba moved six points clear at the top of the Premier League standings on Saturday night, beating Maccabi Netanya 2-0 at Turner Stadium for its 15th win from the past 17 matches.
Elyaniv Barda’s opener on the stroke of halftime and John Ogu’s rocket from 20 meters out in the 67th minute extended Beersheba’s unbeaten streak to 17 matches, stretching back to late September.
Beersheba wasn’t at its clinical best, but was more than good enough to defeat rock-bottom Netanya and pile the pressure on Maccabi Tel Aviv ahead of Sunday night’s derby against Hapoel Tel Aviv at Bloomfield Stadium.
“I’m not looking for us to put on great displays at the moment,” said Beersheba coach Barak Bachar. “Our goal at the moment is to win matches.
Teams from the bottom section of the standings like Netanya try and close down the game and they are very difficult to beat. This is a very important win and it continues our good period.”
Beersheba visits Hapoel Haifa next week looking to set a new club record of six consecutive league victories.
“We have twice previously this season won five straight matches and didn’t manage to claim a sixth so this time we want to do it,” added Bachar.
“We have 14 matches left until the end of the season and every game will be a real battle. There is no room for mistakes and if we do our job things will work out for us.”
After failing to find the back of the net over 30 appearances during his single year at Maccabi Tel Aviv, Gili Vermouth scored on his debut for Maccabi Haifa on Saturday night, capping the scoring in a 4-0 rout of Maccabi Petah Tikva at Haifa Stadium.
Vermouth was released by Tel Aviv last week after repeatedly asking to leave the club due to his struggles to find his place following last year’s move from Hapoel Tel Aviv. The midfielder was already handed a starting role by coach Roni Levy on Saturday and he helped the Greens equal their biggest win of the season.
Yossi Benayoun opened the scoring with an accurate effort from the edge of the box in first half stoppage time and Eliran Atar netted an impressive brace (47, 65) before Vermouth capped his dream debut with a goal in the 79th minute.
“I’m enjoying playing again and you could see that on the pitch,” said Vermouth.
Hapoel Tel Aviv will enter Sunday’s derby in the relegation zone after Hapoel Acre leapfrogged it on Saturday thanks to a 1-0 win over Ironi Kiryat Shmona. Boris Kopitovic scored the winner in the 66th minute.
Bnei Yehuda took another step towards securing another season in the top flight with a 2-1 win at Hapoel Kfar Saba. Amir Agajev (41) and Dean Mori (45) netted for the winners, with Dudu Biton (59) scoring for Kfar Saba.
Also Saturday, Bnei Sakhnin and Hapoel Haifa drew 0-0.