After KS draw, Hapoel can go top of table

Mac PT draws 2-2 up north; Betar gets 2nd in a row; Greens easily handle Ashkelon.

November 28, 2010 00:17
3 minute read.
HEN AZRIEL and Betar Jerusalem have a hop in their

Betar 311. (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)

After finally claiming a debut Champions League victory last week, Hapoel Tel Aviv can record another first this season when it visits Ashdod SC on Sunday.

A victory for the reigning champion will take it top of the Premier League standings for the first time this campaign after Ironi Kiryat Shmona drew 2- 2 with Maccabi Petah Tikva on Saturday.

Maccabi Haifa is tied on 25 points with Ran Ben-Shimon’s team thanks to a 3-0 win at Hapoel Ashkelon, while Betar Jerusalem continued its resurgence on Saturday, defeating Hapoel Haifa 2-0 at Kiryat Eliezer Stadium.

Hen Azriel gave Betar the lead after just five minutes and put the match beyond Hapoel Haifa in the 40th minute with his second goal of the night and sixth this season in what was just his third start of the campaign.

“We are still near to the bottom of the standings, but I hope this win will give us more confidence,” said Jerusalem coach Uri Malmilian, whose team has now won two straight matches after claiming just one victory in its first 10 encounters of the season.

In Ashkelon, Maccabi Haifa dominated the hosts and took the lead at a crucial moment, with Vladimir Dvalishvili heading in the opener in the 44th minute from an Arik Benado cross.

Lior Rafaelov doubled the lead in the 64th minute and Eyal Meshumar sealed the win nine minutes later.

“This is the Maccabi Haifa we want to see,” said Haifa coach Elisha Levy, whose side had won just once in its previous three contests. “We overcame tough pitch conditions and played an up-tempo game. There’s no reason we shouldn’t build on this performance and continue to improve.”

In Kiryat Shmona, the northerners started the match without injured stars Wiyam Amashe and Elroei Cohen, but still went ahead in the 22nd minute courtesy of a Barak Badash goal.

However, Petah Tikva turned the match on its head at the start of the second half, with Omer Damari equalizing in the 52nd minute and Roei Bekel giving the visitors the lead 10 minutes later.

Nevertheless, Kiryat Shmona ensured itself at least another 24 hours in first place thanks to Salah Hasarma’s penalty in the 74th minute.

“We want to win every game, but considering the situation we found ourselves in, it’s a good result,” Ben-Shimon said.

Hapoel Beersheba recorded an impressive 3-2 victory at Hapoel Acre on Saturday, leapfrogging its opponent into fourth position.

Lior Asulin put the visitors from the south ahead in the 12th minute, only for Arafat Djako to equalize six minutes later.

However, Maor Melikson gave Beersheba the lead once more in the 25th.

HEN AZRIEL and Betar Jerusalem have a hop in their step, winning two in a row after a dismal start to the season. Azriel scored both goals in Betar’s latest conquest, a 2-0 win at Hapoel Haifa last night. (Asaf Kliger) On TV: Hapoel Tel Aviv vs Ashdod SC (live on Sport 1 at 8 p.m.) minute and Asulin increased the gap with his second strike of the night four minutes before the break.

Roei Dayan gave Acre some hope with an accurate penalty in the 78th minute, but Beersheba held on for its third win in four matches, handing Acre its first defeat in eight games.

Also Saturday, Bnei Yehuda won for the first time in five encounters, beating Hapoel Petah Tikva 2-0 thanks to Pedro Galvan’s brace (24, 62). And Bnei Sakhnin opened a seven-point gap from Hapoel Ramat Gan, beating the rockbottom side 2-1, with Ahmed Kasoum (17) and Cristian Danalache (70) scoring for the visitors and Idan Srur (22) netting a consolation goal for the sorry hosts.

Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Maccabi Netanya on Monday.

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