fernandez betar 298 88jl.
(photo credit: Jeremy Last)
Betar Jerusalem climbed back into second place in the Premier League Saturday at Hapoel Tel Aviv's expense.
Luis Fernandez's team had to deal with a tough and adamant Hapoel Kfar Saba at Teddy Stadium, but prevailed thanks to a Barak Yitzhaki penalty in the closing minutes of the game.
Hapoel Tel Aviv produced a lackluster performance at Bnei Sakhnin's Doha Stadium, losing 2-1. Pasqual Kondafoni scored both Sakhnin goals.
Ton Caanen continues to enjoy an amazing run of luck with Maccabi Tel Aviv. The yellow-and-blue repeated last week's feat against Bnei Yehuda as they again came back from a 2-0 deficit to finish 2-2. Maccabi had a chance to take all three points, but Avi Nimni missed a penalty in the 90th minute.
Maccabi Petah Tikva defeated Upper Nazareth 2-0 while Hapoel Petah Tikva came back from Netanya with a 0-0 draw.
Matchday 18 will be completed on Sunday when Yossi Mizrahi's Ashdod SC travels north to take on reigning champion Maccabi Haifa at Kiryat Eliezer. Ashdod has beaten Haifa only once in the last six seasons.
Argentinean striker Roberto Colautti will be back in the starting lineup for the Greens and will pair up with Shlomi Arbitman in attack.
Blesing Kaku is doubtful for the visitors as he suffered from flu like symptoms all week. Maor Peretz is expected to replace the Nigerian midfielder if he doesn't recover in time for the game.
At Teddy, Kfar Saba surprised Betar with its attacking formation and was the better team in the first half with new signing Ben Luz dominating the midfield and creating chances for his teammates.
But Betar was awarded a penalty in the 88th minute when substitute Yitzhaki was fouled in the box. Yitzhaki himself took the spot kick and made no mistake to score the winner for the yellow-and-black.
Maccabi Tel Aviv 2, Bnei Yehuda 2
Bnei Yehuda dominated the game from the start and came ahead relentlessly. Its attacking play paid off quickly.
Reuven Oved received the ball in the box and took full advantage of a mix up in the Tel Aviv defense to give Bnei Yehuda the 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.
The orange side kept creating chances up front and scored another goal in the 33rd minute when Aimoro Lokman headed in off an Oved cross, leaving goalkeeper Liran Strauber helpless.
Maccabi was awarded a penalty in the 45th minute when Roni Gafny handled the ball while trying to clear. Nimni made no mistake and blasted the ball into the goal making it 2-1 just before halftime.
The yellow-and-blue never stopped attacking in the second half and found the equalizer in the 84th minute. Jose Duarte set up Erez Mesika, who made no mistake in front of goal and sent in a low drive into the back of the net.
Caanen's team was awarded a penalty in the 90th minute and could have completed a great comeback, but Nimni dispatched a sloppy spot kick that was brilliantly fisted away by goalkeeper Yahav Yolzari.
Tel Aviv's Tamir Cohen was sent off in extra time after collecting his second yellow card.
Bnei Sakhnin 2, Hapoel Tel Aviv 1
Dror Kashtan changed his starting line up and opened with Felix Obuka and Ibazito Ogabuna, with Baruch Dego starting on the bench.
Sakhnin struck in the 44th minute after a quick raid in which Kondafoni tapped in the ball from close range and gave the hosts the advantage.
Kondafoni scored his second in the 71st minute with an impressive piledriver, putting the game beyond Tel Aviv's reach.
Elyaniv Barda pulled one back just a minute later with a fantastic strike off Yigal Antebi's cross from the left flank, which turned out to be no more than a consolation goal.
Maccabi Petah Tikva 2, Upper Nazareth 0
The first half was played with a defensive frame of mind with very little chances created in front of the goals.
Ashraf Suliman received his marching orders in the 55th minute after brutally fouling Kobi Ganon.
Petah Tikva made the visitors pay in the 69th minute. Omer Golan received the ball on the left flank, skillfully dribbled past the Nazareth defense and provided a clinical finish to give the hosts the lead.
Kfir Edri scored the second goal 11 minutes later to seal the fate of the game.
On TV: Ashdod SC at Maccabi Haifa (live on Channel 10 at 8:50 p.m.)