soccer ball 88.
(photo credit: )
Maccabi Netanya has faltered yet again. After trashing Betar Jerusalem last week at "The Box", the yellows failed to deliver against Ashdod SC and lost 3-1 following and lackluster performance on Saturday.
The team from the south showed up for the game under the guidance of caretaker coach and former player Allon Hazan, but showed no signs of confusion
Ashdod punished the Netanya defense twice to snatch the impressive win. Ashdod is now top of the table with 12 league points, while second placed Betar Jerusalem has 10 points and a game in hand.
Eli Ohana's Hapoel Kfar Saba, spurred by an Avi Knafo double, beat Maccabi Petah Tikva 3-0, while Maccabi Tel Aviv managed its second win of the season against a 10-man Bnei Yehuda with a convincing 4-0 score.
Betar Jerusalem takes on Reuven Atar's Maccabi Herzliya in tonight's televised fixture, the first game of the post-Ossie Ardiles era.
Newly appointed coach Yossi Mizrahi is not planning any major changes in the starting eleven, with only question mark around the identity of his opening strikers.
The yellow-and-black will also have to manage without playmaker Fabrice Fernandez and defender Tomer Ben Yosef, who are injured and will not be available for the important fixture.
Maccabi Haifa and Hapoel Tel Aviv, Israel's representatives in this season's UEFA Cup, will be involved in their respective Premier League games against relegation candidates Hapoel Petah Tikva and Hakoach Amidar Ramat Gan, tomorrow evening.
Maccabi Netanya 1, Ashdod SC 3
Netanya enjoyed the advantage in ball possession and set piece opportunities in the opening minutes, but the team's attackers were unable to convert their chances.
Ashdod settled for the occasional counter attack and managed to take the lead thanks to a horrible defensive blunder.
The visitors tried to surprise Netanya with a quick break and lofted a long cross towards the box, in what appeared to be a simple ball for goalkeeper Liran Strauber to collect. But Ori Uzan intercepted the ball poorly and headed in an own goal to give Ashdod the lead in the 29th minute.
Ashdod doubled its lead in the 59th minute after a Yaniv Azran strike. Luis Marin pulled one back just four minutes later, on a controversial goal that appeared to be scored from an offside position, but was approved by the referee.
The hosts dominated in the dying minutes of the encounter and just when the equalizer was looking close, veteran striker Shai Holtzman provided a close range finish in the 90th minute and sealed the fate of the match.
Maccabi Tel Aviv 4, Bnei Yehuda 0
Bnei Yehuda was reduced to ten man after only four minutes of the Tel Aviv derby at Bloomfield Stadium after Moshe Biton was judged to have been fouled in the penalty area by Asi Domb who was sent off.
Maccabi's Avi Nimni duly converted the penalty.
Biton then took matters into his own hands, converting from close range in the tenth minute.
The yellows scored two more through Mijan Mrdakovic (65) and Lior Jan (74) to give Maccabi a much needed win after a difficult start to the season aheaded of the game against Hapoel Tel Aviv next weekend.
Hapoel Kfar Saba 3, Maccabi Petach Tikva 0
Kfar Saba welcomed back Douglas De Silva in the starting lineup, after the Brazilian defender missed the team's last game due to a nagging injury. The effect of the fullback's inclusion was felt, and yielded results in the third minute.
Samuel Yeboah made a brilliant run on the right flank and produced a sharp shot on goal. The ball was fisted away by Ohad Cohen, but Avi Knafo was lurking unmarked in the box and was on target to give the greens the early lead.
The "Luzons" lost control in the second half, after Morad Megamadov and Patrick Suffo were sent off in separate unsporting incidents.
The hosts took full advantage and Shelev Menashe (86) and Knafo (90) completed the whitewash, dislodging Petah Tikva from the top spot in the league table.