Kiryat Shmona 311.
(photo credit: (Asaf Kliger))
Ashdod SC proved once more its surprising start to the season is no coincidence
on Sunday night, recording an impressive 2-1 victory over Maccabi Tel Aviv to
return to second place in the Premier League standings, four points back of
leader Ironi Kiryat Shmona.
Rodgers Kola scored the winning goal in the
56th minute, giving Yossi Mizrahi’s men their sixth win in the past seven
matches and eighth victory in nine home games this season.
Shmona, no one dreamed Ashdod could come close to challenging for the
championship in 2011/12, but regardless of their results in Wednesday’s league
action, the two will enter next Monday’s showdown with real hopes of going all
Ashdod took the lead in the 28th minute with a move that
illustrated why it has exceeded all expectations this season.
found Adir Tubul on the left flank and the latter’s cross was perfectly timed
for David Revivo to slot in the opener.
The hosts piled the pressure on
Tel Aviv after going in front and should have led by at least two goals at
However, Maccabi goalkeeper Barak Levy kept his team in the
match with saves from Biton and Idan Shriki and the yellow-and-blue equalized in
the fourth minute of first half stoppage time.
Moussa Konate was brought
down in the box by Ashdod ‘keeper Ofir Marziano and Eliran Atar made no mistake
from the penalty spot.
But Ashdod would not be denied, with Kola scoring
the winner 11 minutes into the second half.
Maccabi’s defense could
not handle Revivo’s corner and Kola was at the right place at the right time to
smash in his fifth league goal of the season and give Ashdod a significant
Also Sunday, Betar Jerusalem finally found the back of the net after
four matches without a goal, but it was still left frustrated after only
managing a 1-1 draw at Hapoel Acre.
Betar dominated the proceedings for
much of the encounter, but careless misses by Amit Ben-Shushan in the 32nd
minute and Eden Nachmani eight minutes later meant the teams entered the
halftime break still deadlocked at 0-0.
Jerusalem fans began to fear the
worst after their team was made to pay for its misses when Nicolas Falczuk
scored with a superb strike from 20 meters out in the 60th minute.
after 516 minutes without a goal, Betar scored at last, with Dan Eibinder making
the most of some poor Acre defending to tuck in the equalizer in the
“I’m happy we managed to score one goal, but I end this match with
a strong sense of frustration,” said Betar coach Yuval Naim, whose team has won
just once in its past 13 matches.
“We were better than Acre and deserved
Naim was at least pleased with the news that the Israel Football
Association High Court decided to partially accept Betar’s appeal and allow it
to host Hapoel Tel Aviv at National Stadium in Ramat Gan with fans on
Jerusalem was punished last week by the IFA disciplinary court
to play its next two home matches in front of empty stands away from Teddy
Stadium following its fans’ unruliness in the defeat to Bnei
However, the High Court elected to allow the yellow-and-black to
host Hapoel in Ramat Gan with supporters, providing Betar with much needed
revenue, while also allowing it to play its subsequent home game against Maccabi
Netanya at Teddy Stadium, but without any fans on hand.